Under state law, a California nursing home can receive a citation and fine for certain violations of the law. Most nursing homes do not receive citations. In a typical year, less than 40% of California's nursing homes receive citations.
Citations are only issued for serious violations. You should be concerned if a nursing home is issued multiple citations in a brief period of time. However, it is also important to look at the nature of the citation. Some citations may indicate facility-wide problems or demonstrate failures to meet a particular care need.
Citations, while serious, should also be put into perspective. A single citation does not necessarily mean that a nursing home will provide poor care. Review the facility's deficiencies and complaints, as well as enforcement actions to see if there is a pattern of violations or if the facility has a fairly good record.
A change of ownership or management can quickly change the quality of care in a facility. Look to see which citations, if any, were acquired under the current owner.
The description for each citation lists the date that it was issued, the class of the citation, the CANHR category, the DPH category, and the amount of the fine. This information is followed by a brief summary of the citation prepared by CANHR.
At the end of each citation description is a citation number. If you want a copy of the actual citation, you will need to request it by citation number. Copies of citations can be obtained at the DPH District Office in the district where the facility is located. (link to DPH L&C district offices)