Posts Tagged ‘AZ care check’

Troubled Teens: At Risk and Not Overlooked

February 19th, 2013

Our Vision at the Arizona Department of Health Services is ”Health and Wellness for all Arizonans”. Part of that Vision for folks living with behavioral health issues or a mental illness means achieving and maintaining self-reliance and independence.  To get there, some individuals simply need outpatient services occasionally.  Some need wrap-around community or home-based services.  Others need more intensive treatment in a licensed residential setting.  Our goal is always to provide the most effective kind of evidence-based treatment for that person.

For example, our home and community-based wrap-around services have been so effective that we’ve reduced care in licensed high-level Residential facilities by 75% in the last couple of years in Maricopa County.  We did this by building up home- and community-based wrap-around services like in-home counseling, high needs case management, home care training, peer support, respite, family support, and skills training.  However, outpatient treatment and home and community based services can’t always provide the level of treatment folks need, and some people need the more intensive treatment that only a  licensed and regulated residential facility can provide. 

A series of reports in the Republic this week suggests that some residential treatment facilities in our state are substandard.  While no regulated facility is perfect, our teams of inspectors are well-trained and highly-motivated to ensure each of our licensed residential treatment facilities meets our standards. Those that don’t must implement an immediate corrective action plan. Additionally, the DHS team has been overhauling many of its regulations to make sure our standards focus on the most important components of care.

We inspect residential treatment facilities once a year, and more often than that when there are complaints. When we’re inspecting facilities, our teams make decisions based on evidence. We talk to the residents and the staff; we look at patient and personnel records (including videotape); we observe facility practices and examine physical evidence. We require two forms of evidence to substantiate an issue. This practice helps us separate legitimate complaints and concerns from those that are baseless or intentionally fabricated.

We also receive dozens of reports every day as part of our regulatory oversight of all of our licensed facilities. We carefully and promptly evaluate each report and respond accordingly. Many of the reports that we receive are routine and pose no health or safety problem. When we receive a report that could pose an immediate safety concern, we send staff to the facility immediately like we did with an assisted living facility over the weekend.

Successful residential treatment facilities are pro-active, follow their policies and procedures without fail, are meticulous in reporting and documentation, and seek ongoing education. They’re not afraid to admit a mistake. Our job is not just to ensure that facilities comply with our standards, but also to maximize their effectiveness. That’s why our licensing teams also focus on ways to improve our licensed facilities.

Unlike newspaper reporting, our actions as an agency must be based in fact and rooted in the evidence demonstrated by a comprehensive review of the facility. Folks can view factual information about the more than 7,400 facilities licensed by the Arizona Department of Health Services by visiting

Behavioral Health Care Licensing Web Refresh

February 29th, 2012

Our Office of Behavioral Health Licensing website has a brand-new look.  Check out their new landing page.  Everyone can now enjoy an updated and easy to use web format. The new site includes easy access to AZ Care Check (where the user can get up to date survey and enforcement results for a 3 year history)…  and you’re one click away from being able to access the on-line complaint system where the user can file a complaint to any of the Departments licensing Programs 24/7. 

Our Licensees can get the latest information of rules, statues and other important information for them. Prospective licensees can find important information on how to apply for a license, needed forms and other pertinent information. The public also has available, in an easy to follow format, information they may want to know about our team and the facilities we license. Their newsletters are now available on line as is information concerning emergency preparedness.


AZ Carecheck

November 14th, 2011

It’s been a while since I mentioned to you that our Division of Licensing has a really good web site called AZ Care Check.  Our website provides a 3 year history of survey results, complaint investigation results and if any of our licensed facilities (nursing homes, assisted living, hospital and other medical facilities, childcare or behavioral healthcare services) including any enforcement actions in the last 3 years. 

AZ Care Check also provides the user with facility names, addresses, city, phone number and other useful pieces of information. In fact, once you select a facility to review, you can even be linked right to MapQuest to get directions. Of course, the main value of this website is to provide the user with up to date information about our licensed facilities so a good decision can be made when services/care are needed.  I encourage you to visit the website and to pass it along to someone you know who may find this website useful.

Going the Extra Mile

September 6th, 2011

Our behavioral health licensing team gets complaints from many sources- but seldom do we read about potentially dangerous conditions in the newspaper.  But that’s just what happened earlier this month.  Our licensing team awoke to read an article in a local newspaper in which the operator stated that they had laid off their clinical director, nurse, therapist and four caregivers; all key positions which ensure health and safety.  As a result, our team lead (Jewela Rice) opened a complaint and Coy Turner was sent out to investigate. Coy found an overall lack of compliance with the rules that compromised the safety and well- being of the four vulnerable adults residing there. 

He immediately notified his team lead (Jay McGahee) who put together a provider agreement that would address the immediate jeopardy that existed on site.  In the hours following, when the operator couldn’t fulfill the essential pieces of the safety plan, Coy and his Office Chief (Barb Lang) worked all weekend to ensure that the clients were OK and that trained staff were present. 

On Monday our team met with the operator to solidify a long-term plan to keep the clients supervised and safe as well as get the facility into compliance.  At the conclusion of the meeting, agreements were put in writing- but critical information was still needed to demonstrate compliance. Barb contacted all of the placing agencies expressing concern about items that were not met.  The placing agencies decided to relocate the folks to avoid any potential risk and/or harm to them. Ultimately, all 4 gentlemen were safely relocated to alternative licensed facilities. As we approach the long holiday weekend, we’re all proud that the families of these clients can feel confident that they are well cared for in a clean, well-staffed and trained environment.  Well done. 

By the way- curious about how well your loved one’s facility did on their last inspections?  Just check out AZ Care Check for the answers!

Providing Transparent Inspection Results is a Key to Effective Compliance

June 29th, 2011

Our Division of Licensing Services monitors a wide range of facilities including hospitals, assisted living and skilled nursing centers, behavioral health facilities, child care facilities, and group homes for folks with developmental disabilities.  Our teams of surveyors conduct inspections, on-site surveys, and complaint investigations to make sure all of our licensed facilities promote quality care and safety and meet their performance standards.  Our goal is always to gain compliance without having to resort to enforcement actions as I described in a blog post a few months ago.

One of the tools we use to make sure they meet our health and safety expectations is to provide the public with easy to access information about each and every facility’s inspection results.  That way, the public can decide for themselves whether they want to use the services of a licensed facility.  This brings the consumer into the mix and helps us with our mission.  That’s why we developed our electronic tool we call AZ Care Check.  It provides the consumer an easy-to-use tool that allows them to look up the compliance history of any of our licensed facilities, allowing them to make informed decisions about where to seek services for themselves or their loved-ones and how to spend their money.

Good work Assisted Living Team

February 11th, 2011

We’ve made a strong effort in the past couple years to make sure that we are doing our best to protect the health and safety of people in our licensed facilities.  Whenever possible, we work to help those facilities come into compliance with our rules, but sometimes we have no choice but to drop the hammer of enforcement, which is what the Assisted Living team did at Fiesta Village.

Last summer ADHS closed the facility based on the conditions we found during our visits.  The facility had been under scrutiny by the Division of Licensing for several months because of concern for the safety and welfare of the residents.  While staff normally only goes into a facility once a year, ADHS staff had been in and out of Fiesta Village several times prior to the operator surrendering the license.  ADHS worked closely with the city of Phoenix and other agencies to make sure the residents were transitioned into safe places and then after the facility closed to help with the criminal investigation.

You can check out licensed facilities for yourself any time of day at