Colorado Department of Public Health And Environment (CDPHE)
All assisted living facilities, residential care facilities, memory care facilities, and nursing homes (skilled nursing facilities) are licensed and regulated by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), which has its headquarters in Denver.
CDPHE Annual Health Surveys
CDPHE conducts annual health surveys every nine to fifteen months (with an average of every twelve months). The CDPHE also investigates complaints and “occurrences” as they arise. Complaints and occurrences can be filed by residents, residents’ families, or the facilities themsevles (self-reporting). Most complaints and occurrences relate to the following:
- quality of care at the assisted living facility or nursing home
- residents’ rights
- complaints about staff
- health or safety concerns
The Process For CDPHE Health Surveys And Inspections
The annual health surveys at assisted living facilities, residential care facilities, and nursing homes are unannounced. CDPHE surveyors come in, over the course of multiple days, and observe what’s going on in the facility. They interview residents and staff and review medical records and documents.
Health Survey Deficiencies
The annual health survey assesses compliance with more than 150 regulatory standards. If the CDPHE finds deficiencies, it notifies the facility and gives the facility 10 days to come up with a plan for correction. CDPHE reviews the proposed plan, and in a follow-up survey determines whether the plan was put in place and the deficiency was corrected.
Receiving a deficiency-free rating is quite rare indeed as the regulations have become much more stringent, particularly with the larger assisted living facilities and nursing homes.
According to data compiled by Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), nursing homes in Colorado received an average of eleven deficiencies. In another study, only 8% of skilled nursing facilities earned the designation of deficiency free.