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Elder Abuse

  • The United States Census Bureau projected in 2000 that California's elderly population will have doubled by 2025 to 6.4 million - a larger growth rate than any other state.

  • The California State Department of Finance claims that the number of California residents age 85 and older - those who are most likely to need nursing homes --- will nearly double by the year 2030, when the bulk of baby boomers will come of age.

  • In 2005, the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development reported that one-fifth of California's nursing facilities did not meet state-mandated requirements for staffing levels.

  • In 2006, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services reported that twice as many of California's 115,000 plus residents are placed in physical restraints as are nationally.

  • From 2001 to 2005, the California Department of Health Care Services, found that two-thirds of all reported deficiencies caused or could have caused significant harm to one of more residents in nursing homes. More than half of all complaints in nursing homes are related to poor quality of care. Eighteen percent of substantiated complaints were related to mistreatment or abuse.

Together, these staggering statistics and projections illustrate the urgent need to address and remedy the poor quality of care in many of California's skilled nursing facilities.

Elder lady and officer

Prosecuting Elder Abuse

The Bureau is composed of three programs designed to bring increased accountability to those who abuse California's elderly population.

Violent Crimes Unit

The Violent Crimes investigates and prosecutes physical elder abuse committed by individual employees against patients in elder care facilities. These crimes include homicide, rape, false imprisonment, assault and battery.

Facilities Enforcement Team

The Facilities Enforcement Team investigates and prosecutes corporate entities, such as skilled nursing homes, hospitals, and residential care facilities, for adopting policies or promoting practices that lead to neglect and/or poor quality of care. Institutional neglect or substandard care includes:

  • Failure to provide medical care for physical and mental health needs
  • Failure to attend to hygiene concerns
  • Failure to provide adequate staffing
  • Failure to prevent malnutrition and dehydration
  • Falsification of patient charts

Operation Guardians

The primary goal of the Operation Guardians program is to help protect and improve the quality of care for California's elder and dependent adult residents residing in California's 1,340 skilled nursing facilities. The Operation Guardians team identifies instances of abuse or neglect for further investigation and possible criminal or civil prosecution by the Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse.

Elder Abuse 02/03 03/04 04/05 05/06 06/07 07/08 08/09 09/10 10/11 11/12
Criminal Filings 112 93 110 106 93 75 89 77 75 60
Convictions 87 56 65 67 84 87 61 46 58 46
Acquittals 3 1 1 2 1 5 0 0 3 1
Criminal Restitution $891,446 $65,485 $383,868 $1,357,173 $207,863 $129,140 $594,346 $452,211 $504,403 $279,228
Civil Monetary Recoveries $2,000,000 $5,478 $0 $3,850,000 $137,000 $0 $836 $510,000 $6,145 $0
Operation Guardians Inspections (1) 67 98 91 91 92 52 23 3 5 9

Special Publications

Guide to preventing elder abuse publication image

Publications. This guide is among the resources available in several languages to help fight elder abuse.

Report Fraud or Abuse


If you suspect
Medi-cal Fraud or Elder Abuse


or use:
Online Complaint Form to report suspected violations

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