California Code, Health and Safety Code - HSC § 1423

(a) If upon inspection or investigation the director determines that any nursing facility is in violation of any state or federal law or regulation relating to the operation or maintenance of the facility, or determines that any other long-term health care facility is in violation of any statutory provision or regulation relating to the operation or maintenance of the facility, the director shall promptly, but not later than 24 hours, excluding Saturday, Sunday, and holidays, after the director determines or has reasonable cause to determine that an alleged violation has occurred, issue a notice to correct the violation and of intent to issue a citation to the licensee.  Before completing the investigation and making the final determination whether to issue a citation, the department shall hold an exit conference with the licensee to identify the potential for issuing a citation for any violation, discuss investigative findings, and allow the licensee to provide the department with additional information related to the violation.  The department shall consider this additional information, in conjunction with information from the inspection or investigation, in determining whether to issue a citation, or whether other action would be appropriate.  If the department determines that the violation warrants the issuing of a citation and an exit conference has been completed it shall either:

(1) Recommend the imposition of a federal enforcement remedy or remedies on a nursing facility in accordance with federal law; or

(2) Issue a citation pursuant to state licensing laws, and if the facility is a nursing facility, may recommend the imposition of a federal enforcement remedy.

A state citation shall be served upon the licensee within 30 days after completion of the investigation.  Service shall be effected either personally or by registered or certified mail.  A copy of the citation shall also be sent to each complainant.  Each citation shall be in writing and shall describe with particularity the nature of the violation, including a reference to the statutory provision, standard, rule, or regulation alleged to have been violated, the particular place or area of the facility in which it occurred, as well as the amount of any proposed assessment of a civil penalty.  The name of any patient jeopardized by the alleged violation shall not be specified in the citation in order to protect the privacy of the patient.  However, at the time the licensee is served with the citation, the licensee shall also be served with a written list of each of the names of the patients alleged to have been jeopardized by the violation, that shall not be subject to disclosure as a public record.  The citation shall fix the earliest feasible time for the elimination of the condition constituting the alleged violation, when appropriate.

(b) Where no harm to patients, residents, or guests has occurred, a single incident, event, or occurrence shall result in no more than one citation for each statute or regulation violated.

(c) No citation shall be issued for a violation that has been reported by the licensee to the state department, or its designee, as an “unusual occurrence,” if all of the following conditions are met:

(1) The violation has not caused harm to any patient, resident, or guest, or significantly contributed thereto.

(2) The licensee has promptly taken reasonable measures to correct the violation and to prevent a recurrence.

(3) The unusual occurrence report was the first source of information reported to the state department, or its designee, regarding the violation.


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