Quick Dismissal of Caregiver Abuse Cases Puts California Patients at Risk

California regulators routinely have conducted cursory and indifferent investigations into suspected violence and misconduct committed by hundreds of nursing assistants and in-home health aides – putting the elderly, sick and disabled at risk over the past decade.

In 2009, the state Department of Public Health quietly ordered its investigators to dismiss nearly 1,000 pending cases of abuse and theft – often with a single phone call from Sacramento headquarters. The closing of cases en masse came after officials determined their swelling backlog had become a crisis.

Four years later, state investigators are opening and closing investigations into suspected abuse without ever leaving their desks, The Center for Investigative Reporting and KQED have found. In some instances, caregivers who have sexually assaulted or abused patients have retained their licenses and moved to other facilities.

An estimated 160,000 nursing assistants and in-home health aides are employed throughout California. These workers – all regulated by the Department of Public Health – are certified to work in hospitals, nursing homes, mental health facilities, developmental centers and private homes.

Since the mass dismissal of cases in 2009, the overwhelming majority of allegations of abuse and misconduct have been closed without action. The state also has dramatically reduced the number of license revocations for aides suspected of abuse and misconduct.

“I would tell anybody, do not count on the government taking care of you,” said Brian Woods, former director of the Department of Public Health’s West Covina office.  

Credit: Adithya Sambamurthy/The Center for Investigative Reporting

Full Article and Source:
Quick Dismissal of Caregiver Abuse Cases Puts Calif. Patients at Risk

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3 Responses to “Quick Dismissal of Caregiver Abuse Cases Puts California Patients at Risk”

  1. Mary Says:

    Caregiving is a position of trust. When that trust is betrayed, the penalty should be stiff.

  2. Thelma Says:

    What is government's role these days?

  3. Clarice Says:

    I think many people are like deer in headlites when they're hiring caregivers and in reality, that's when they really should be extra careful.

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