An internal hire is unlikely to satisfy senior advocates demanding a major shake-up at the Department of Social Services’ Community Care Licensing Division.
“They need an overhaul of that department,” said Patricia McGinnis, director of California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform. “Unless they have a complete change of attitude, unless they have a complete change of guard, I don’t see how things are going to be any different.”
The agency drew outrage last month for allowing more than a dozen frail residents to be left at Valley Springs Manor without proper care after the state had ordered the home closed. An internal review is now looking into what went wrong.
It was the previous head of the division, Jeffrey Hiratsuka, who initiated formal proceedings in May to revoke the license of the Castro Valley facility and ban its owners from ever running such a home again.
That was after complaints by residents and advocates against Valley Springs and a sister home in Oakland began mounting last year. The complaints led to unannounced state inspections that discovered numerous violations and forced the ouster of the homes’ longtime administrator, according to state records.
Hiratsuka, who could not be reached for comment, retired this summer after fours years directing the division and a total of 12 years working in its Sacramento headquarters. A staff newsletter commended the 61-year-old for guiding “the program through some of the worst economic and budget times ever experienced in the state.”