What role do state agencies play?
State agencies play a significant role in the oversight of long-term care. The California Health & Human Services Agency has primary responsibility over long-term care providers. The various Departments under Health & Human Services have specific responsibilities:
The California Department of Public Health is responsible for licensing health facilities, home health agencies and hospices, and for general oversight of the services they provide. The Department of Health Care Services is responsible for California public health programs and administers the Medi-Cal program.
The Department of Social Services manages California's integrated social service and income maintenance programs. The Department's Community Care Licensing Division licenses residential care facilities, and its Adult and Family Services Division is responsible for monitoring elder abuse.
The Department of Developmental Services is responsible for services to Californians with developmental disabilities such as mental retardation, cerebral palsy, epilepsy and autism.
The Department of Mental Health sets overall policy for the delivery of mental health services; establishes priorities, standards and procedures within which mental health services operate; assists in planning programs; monitors, reviews and evaluates the actual operation of services; and oversees any changes brought about by the evaluation and review process.
The Department of Aging serves as the focus for community-based services to California's seniors. Its mission is to provide leadership in addressing issues related to aging Californians, and in developing community-based systems of long-term care services throughout the state.
The Ombudsman Program within the Department of Aging, advocates for the rights of all residents of 24-hour long-term care facilities and adult day health care centers in the state.
In addition to the Health & Human Services agencies, other state and local agencies, such as state and county Fire Marshals, Department of Industrial Affairs (Cal-OSHA), the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development and the Department of Consumer Affairs also have roles in the oversight of long-term care in California.
Nursing facilities are subject to an extensive set of standards prescribed in state licensing law and federal Medicare/Medicaid certification requirements. State inspectors spend hundreds of hours each year enforcing these regulations in their annual compliance visits to each of California's long-term care facilities.