Community Care Licensing (CCL) announced on February 26, 2016 that on Tuesday, March 1, 2016 it would begin online posting of Complaint Investigation Reports (LIC 9099s), making them available for public online consumption for the first time via its Transparency Website.
Given that 6Beds has become aware of a number of inconsistencies in practice, it has not been entirely clear as to what CCL’s policies are regarding whether a Complaint Investigation Report is classified as either “Public” or “Confidential” based on either the completion status of the investigation or the actual investigation findings. For example, for Complaint Investigation Reports that are not yet completed and where the reports identify that further investigation is required, 6Beds is aware of some of these reports being labeled as “Confidential”, some of them being labeled as “Public”, and some of them not being labeled at all. However, all complaint investigations that are not yet completed should be marked “Confidential” until a resolution is reached.
In general, 6Beds is not opposed to the idea of information being available for public consumption. However, the public should be entitled only to information that is legitimately and legally “Public” and the availability of information should not come at the expense of accuracy, consistency, and fairness. Earlier this week, 6Beds formally registered its concerns regarding this issue with CCL and has sought clarification regarding its policies.
On Wednesday, March 2, 2016, CCL Deputy Director Pam Dickfoss and Statewide Adult and Senior Care Program Administrator Ley Arquisola were kind enough to meet with me to discuss 6Beds’ concerns and to provide clarification. In this meeting, CCL was able to confirm the following:
- Complaint Investigation Reports that indicate that further investigation is required should be marked “Confidential” and not posted to the Transparency Website until a resolution is reached.
- For RCFEs, all Complaint Investigation Reports with approved complaint findings, even if the findings are “Inconclusive” or “Unfounded”, are to be marked “Public”. This is an area that has been a source of confusion for RCFE licensees as many RCFE licensees have been under the impression that “Unfounded” complaint findings are to be labeled “Confidential,” which would make sense. However, CCL has clarified that based on statute all approved complaint findings for RCFEs are “Public”.
- For ARF licensees, however, “Unfounded” complaint findings are “Confidential”. “Inconclusive” and “Substantiated” complaint findings are “Public”.
- Only Complaint Investigation Reports with complaint findings approved after January 1, 2016 will be posted to the Transparency Website. This is positive news because the inconsistencies that 6Beds is aware of are from before January 1, 2016 and 6Beds, therefore, was concerned that Complaint Investigation Reports with complaint findings issued prior to January 1, 2016 would be posted to the Transparency Website.
CCL has also committed to producing a document explaining these policies, which I will distribute once it’s made available. 6Beds is also working internally and with CCL on a process whereby licensees can report to 6Beds any inconsistencies or inaccuracies related to confidential Complaint Investigation Reports inappropriately being labeled “Public” and posted to the Transparency Website. The inquiries from licensees would then be vetted by 6Beds and forwarded directly to CCL headquarters for review and follow-up.
Stay tuned for updates on this issue as they become available.