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State is Slow to Collect Nursing Home Fines

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A nursing home in Encinitas has become the latest facility to get a $100,000 fine for conditions that led to a patient's death. State officials concede collecting these fines can take years.

— A nursing home in Encinitas has become the latest facility to get a $100,000 fine for conditions that led to a patient's death. State officials concede collecting these fines can take years.

State regulators reserve the $100,000, or AA fine for the most severe violations of health and safety codes.

Nursing homes have the right to appeal the fine. And most do so.

In 2007, the state issued more than $2 million worth of AA fines. To date, the state has collected less than ten percent.

Pat McGinnis directs the non-profit California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform.

"Because the department doesn't have enough attorneys, their appeal system is broken right now, they don't even have enough administrative law judges to process the appeals," says McGinnis.

State officials say a nursing home can lose its license if it gets two AA fines within a 24-month period.

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