A health facility is, in general, any location where healthcare is provided. Health facilities range from small clinics and doctor’s offices to urgent care centers and large hospitals with elaborate emergency rooms and trauma centers. The number and quality of health facilities in a country or region is one common measure of that area’s prosperity and quality of life. In many countries, health facilities are regulated to some extent by law; licensing by a regulatory agency is often required before a facility may open for business. Health facilities may be owned and operated by for-profit businesses, non-profit organizations, governments, and in some cases by individuals, with proportions varying by country.
Which entity oversees the licensure of healthcare facilities?
- The Joint Commission
- Federal government
- State government
- Local county or city government
Who Regulates and Oversees Health Care Facilities in California?
California state government is responsible for the regulation and oversight of health care facilities through multiple agencies, departments, boards, bureaus, and commissions. This interactive tool enables an in-depth understanding of what is regulated, how various entities work separately or together to oversee the facilities, and what information about such oversight is publicly available.
For the purposes of this tool, “facility” means inpatient and outpatient health care settings, health services such as hospice and home health care, and health care-related sites such as drug and medical device manufacturers and pharmacy wholesalers. “Facility” also includes facility designations — for example, the designation of a hospital as a trauma center or the issuance to a hospital of a certificate of registration for laboratory or radiology.
Taking Inventory: A Framework for Understanding Health Care Regulation and Oversight in California
California state government has long been primarily responsible for regulation and oversight of health care facilities and professionals, and of providers of medical devices. These responsibilities are widely distributed among multiple state agencies, departments, boards, bureaus, and commissions.
Given this wide distribution of regulatory authority, it can be difficult to know exactly what is regulated by whom, and how to get basic information or file a complaint about a regulated entity. This report will improve understanding of what is regulated, how these various state government agencies work separately or together to oversee the delivery of health care services, and what information about such oversight is available to the public.
To compile the information provided in the report, the author inventoried the state government’s regulatory oversight responsibilities through surveys completed by state departments, boards, committees, and programs. The survey responses provided information about the general characteristics of each program, including:
- Regulatory oversight responsibilities
- Initial applications, renewals, and fees
- Funding for regulatory oversight functions
- Frequency and intensity of oversight
- Facility compliance domains and currency of requirements
- Complaints and enforcement
- Data collected and information maintained
- Public availability of information about the regulated entity
- Communication and data sharing between government agencies
The full report and an executive summary are available under Document Downloads. In addition, an interactive tool allows a deeper exploration of the source of regulation and oversight for California’s health care facilities.