SACRAMENTO -- It's going to cost the state Department of Social Services at least $1 million to launch a comprehensive, user-friendly website that can provide detailed information on residential care facilities for the elderly in California, a budget analysis by the state assembly's Committee on Appropriations recently revealed.
The analysis covers changes called for by AB 1571, authored by Susan Eggman, D-Stockton. Eggman's bill is one of several included in a package of legislation unveiled in January to force the Department of Social Services to revise several of its practices. The legislation was prompted in part by the revelation that 19 residents at Valley Springs Manor in Castro Valley were abandoned in late October when the department abruptly shuttered the facility.
A section of Eggman's bill requires that by July 1, 2015, the department post all facility profiles its website. By July 1, 2017, the site would have to include in each facility profile detailed information regarding complaints, violations, appeals, inspection reports and plans of correction.
According to the analysis, the department would have a one-time, $1 million cost in the 2014-15 fiscal year to create the site, along with ongoing costs of roughly $700,000 for project development, testing and maintenance and other work related to website improvement and the development and implementation of a rating system.
Additional ongoing costs to the department would be minimal, according to the analysis, and some of the required checks and operations are already done by the department.
The analysis also indicates that Gov. Jerry Brown has proposed several budget initiatives -- which total $7.5 million to fund 71.5 full-time equivalent positions at the department -- to help with oversight activities.
Eggman and department officials were not immediately available for comment.
Department officials announced that they planned to develop an easy-access but comprehensive database during a joint committee hearing with concerned state legislators in February.
On June 13, the first phase of the revamped website was launched. While it did include some additional information for consumers to peruse, including how many times the facility had been visited over the past few years and how many citations or complaints a facility received, many details about the types of complaints and resolutions have not yet been added.
To access the department's web site on residential care facilities, go to ccld.ca.gov. To access the new search information, click on "Find Licensed Care" in the menu on the left side of the screen.
Contact Katie Nelson at 408-920-5006 and follow her at Twitter.com/katienelson210.