SACRAMENTO – Today, Assemblymember Ash Kalra (D-San José), with bill sponsor, Disability Rights California, introduced AB 486, to provide a more consistent framework for the appeals process across the most serious regulatory citations for long-term care facilities in California.
“Coming off the heels of the most deadly and difficult years for nursing homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is imperative that we continue to improve state oversight, accountability, and demand better care to avoid future tragedies,” said Assemblymember Kalra. “By providing a more consistent and expedient appeals process, AB 486 will lighten the burden on our superior court system, utilize taxpayer money more effectively, and streamline a critical process to hold negligent long-term care facilities accountable.”
Under current law, nursing facilities in California accused of the most serious violations are given special treatment in the appeals process. If a facility is cited with a Class AA or A citation, the facility may appeal the citation to a superior court in the county in which the facility is located. This is a singular privilege that is only provided to nursing homes with Class AA or A citations. Generally, the regulatory citation appeals process is handled by an Administrative Law Judge or a regulatory appeals board.
By providing nursing home facilities unique access to superior court, it clogs an already overburdened judicial system, which wastes resources and results in less expedient resolutions. According to the California Department of Public Health, between January 1, 2011 and June 30, 2021 facilities appealed almost half of all AA or A citations and based on the 42 cases handled in 2021, the average cost was approximately $44,500 per case.
"Preventing abuse and neglect in nursing homes demands vigilant oversight and the ability to swiftly hold bad actors accountable," said Eric Harris, Director of Public Policy at Disability Rights California. "Assemblymember Kalra's legislation will close a loophole that has hampered timely and fair resolutions of nursing home citations for the most egregious cases. This bill will bring nursing home oversight fully into the regulatory appeal process—and relieve the burden on our courts, save taxpayer money, and most importantly, protect our most vulnerable Californians."
AB 486 follows Assemblymember Kalra’s AB 323 (Chapter 458, Statutes of 2021), which was a multi-year effort to enhance state oversight in nursing homes by creating a clear legal standard with which to hold negligent facilities accountable for deaths caused as a result of a regulatory violation (Class AA violations).
Assemblymember Ash Kalra represents California’s 25th Assembly District, which encompasses the majority of San José, including downtown and open space areas northeast of Santa Clara County. He was first elected in 2016, becoming the first Indian American to serve in the California Legislature in state history, and was re-elected to his fourth term in 2022. Assemblymember Kalra is the Chair of the Committee on Labor and Employment and also serves as a member on the Housing and Community Development, Judiciary, Transportation, and Water, Parks, and Wildlife committees.