Nursing home regulators in California inadequately collect fines from violators, audit finds

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A report issued Thursday by the California State Auditor finds that nursing home regulators in California are lax when it comes to collecting fines from nursing homes that violate regulations.

The audit charges that, between 2003 and 2010, regulators with the Department of Public Health “inappropriately” reduced fines, failed to adjust fines to reflect inflation, and did not conduct surveys in a timely manner, The Sacramento Bee said. These actions led to the state losing out on millions of dollars, according to the audit. As-yet undecided citation appeals alone total roughly $9 million, while adjusting fines for inflation could have raised $3.3 million, the Bee reported.

The audit calls for new legislation that would force nursing homes to pay fines upon appeal. Auditors also recommend the state implement better accounting oversight, and update its citation tracking system, the Bee reports.