CHA Supports Establishing Change of Ownership Regulations for Nursing Homes

CHA Supports Establishing Change of Ownership Regulations for Nursing Homes

California Health Advocates joined the California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform (CANHR) and 17 other organizations statewide to voice our support in the California Public Health Department’s plan to establish change of ownership (CHOW) regulations for nursing homes. As stated in our joint letter, the planned regulations are of profound importance to California nursing home residents, and “no factor has more impact on the quality of care in a nursing home than its owner.” The planned regulations present a vital opportunity to transform the quality of care in California nursing homes by ensuring that no person or entity can acquire a nursing home unless they demonstrate that they can and will provide first-class care.

Some background stated in the letter

Indeed, California’s screening system for nursing home owners is broken. The Department is allowing unscrupulous nursing home operators and management companies to acquire and operate nursing homes for years without ever obtaining a license or its approval. Most alarmingly, the Department is allowing operators to continue running nursing homes even after it has determined they are unfit. Virtually anyone or any company can acquire nursing homes in California, no matter how terrible their track record, incompetent, or financially unqualified they may be.

Consequently, there is a growing number of dangerous nursing homes in California and an epidemic of elder abuse occurring within them. The lives of thousands of nursing home residents are endangered by the Department’s policies and practices on nursing home ownership.

By law, a license to operate a nursing home is a privilege, not a right. California’s laws governing nursing home changes of ownership are intended to protect residents from unfit operators. Thus, the planned regulations must place the burden on licensee applicants to demonstrate that they have the qualifications, experience, character, track record and financial resources before they are allowed to acquire or operate a nursing home.

To read the full letter, see: Resident Advocates’ Letter to CDPH re: Change of Ownership Regulations.

Karen Fletcher
Our blogger Karen J. Fletcher is CHA's publications consultant. She provides technical expertise, writing and research on Medicare, health disparities and other health care issues. With a Masters in Public Health from UC Berkeley, she serves in health advocacy as a trainer and consultant. See her current articles.