New Nursing Home Search Website Dangerously Misleading

New Nursing Home Search Website Dangerously Misleading

Our partners, California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform (CANHR) recently published an alert about a new website, Cal Health Find, with “highly deceptive information on the performance records of California nursing homes”. The California Department of Public Health (DPH) launched this website, yet none of its information on nursing home inspection histories is reliable and much of it is “dangerously misleading”. We join CANHR in advising people not to use this website for selecting a nursing home until changes are made. Instead, use the  DPH’s Health Facilities Consumer Information System (HFCIS) for information on California nursing home inspection reports and compliance histories. Cal Health Find will eventually replace HFCIS, but for now both sites are currently operating.

Below are some of Cal Health Find’s key problems, as outlined in CANHR’s recent alert:

  • Inspection reports, complaint records and citations prior to 2016 have been deleted;
  • The number of complaints filed against individual nursing homes is extremely inaccurate (some nursing homes have dozens more complaints than is reported);
  • The number of reported deficiencies (violations) for individual nursing homes is often lower than the actual number of deficiencies;
  • The reported statewide average number of nursing home complaints and deficiencies is far below actual levels;
  • A complete lack of useful information on nursing home chains.
    Consequently, Cal Health Find systematically makes nursing homes appear to have much better compliance histories than they actually do.

Compounding the problem, the Department of Public Health has not posted a warning to alert users of the serious errors on Cal Health Find and has stated that it has no plans to do so.

For more information, read CANHR’s full alert.

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.