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Health department sued to force adherence to law

San Jose, CA - Exasperated by what they say are years of state indifference to nursing home complaints, two San Jose-area women and a watchdog group are suing the Department of Health Services in hopes that the courts can force the agency to follow its own rules. State law requires nursing home complaints -- written or oral -- to be acknowledged within two days and investigated within 10 days. That seldom happens, say critics of the department. And a department spokeswoman said Tuesday that in only about 40 percent of the less serious cases -- those that do not involve an immediate threat to life -- are investigations begun within 10 days.

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October 19, 2005

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