Doneen Hollingsworth, Secretary of Health

South Dakota Board of Nursing Facility Administrators

Filing a Complaint about a Nursing Home Administrator

Complaints or concerns about a nursing home administrator can be filed with the Board by completing the Complaint FormState law authorizes the Board to take action against the license of a nursing facility administrator.. Note that the Board’s jurisdiction applies only to the licensed administrator and not the general operation of the nursing facility. For assistance in addressing concerns or complaints about nursing homes or their care we suggest starting with the Ombudsman’s office at the Department of Social Services, 605-773-3656.

Complaint Process

The Complaint Process has 4 possible steps including:

  • The Complaint
  • The Investigation
  • The Hearing
  • The Disciplinary Action

Some complaints will follow through to the disciplinary action, some will not.

Step 1: The Complaint

  • Anyone who believes that administrator has committed any violation(s) is encouraged to contact the Board of Nursing Facility Administrators staff.
  • Each complainant will need to include the name of the administrator and nature of the complaint, and any other information that would assist the staff in its investigation, including dates, specific activities or practices of concern, witness names, etc.
  • Complainant must submit a detailed written explanation of occurrence, including dates, times, places, and persons involved. If necessary, a request for such detailed written explanation will be made. Additionally, a release of medical records will be requested from the complainant when needed.

Step 2: The Investigation

  • Every Board has a duty to investigate and review alleged violations of the laws governing their bodies.
  • If the facts, as alleged, would amount to a violation of law or regulation, and the person is licensed as an administrator in the state of South Dakota, then an immediate investigation into the facts of the case is begun. The complaint is turned over to investigators appointed by the Board. Evidence is gathered and interviews are conducted by investigators in a timely manner.
  • Any Board member involved in the investigation is disqualified from hearing and rendering a decision in the case.
  • After an investigation, the investigator may recommend to the Board that the complaint be dismissed if it is without merit.
  • If evidence obtained during the investigation supports the allegation(s), and the licensee does not contest the charges, the investigator, in conjunction with legal counsel, may negotiate a settlement with the licensee, outlining the facts of the violation and appropriate sanction. This settlement will be made known to and must be approved by the Board.
  • The disposition of the matter will be made known to the complainant in a timely manner. The disposition of an informal proceeding is public record.

Step 3: Hearings

  • If the licensee contests the charges, the licensee is entitled to a formal hearing.
  • The separation of the Board’s investigative and prosecutorial functions from the adjudication (judging) function is necessary to guarantee due process to any individual charged with a violation.
  • The Board of Nursing Facility Administrators determines and issues the sanction.
  • A record of all formal hearings and proceedings is kept.
  • The Board of Nursing Facility Administrators has a hearing examiner on retainer to conduct the formal hearing.
  • The individual complained against has the right to be represented by legal counsel and to be present during the giving of all evidence.
  • The individual shall have a reasonable opportunity to inspect all documentary evidence, examine and cross examine witnesses, present evidence in support of his or her interest, and have subpoenas issued to compel attendance of witnesses and production of evidence on his or her behalf.
  • After a formal hearing, the Board may decide to dismiss the formal complaint or take action as authorized by its governing law.
  • The decision of the board may be appealed to the circuit court in accordance with chapter 1-26. A license shall remain in effect during the pendency of an appeal unless suspended under § 36-6A-24.
  • Board member is disqualified from sitting at the hearing as a Board member and from participating in the decision rendered by the Board if:

  • An alleged violation against an individual is filed by the Board member.
  • A Board member participates in the investigation of a violation.
  • A Board member has a conflict of interest in the case.

Step 4: Disciplinary Actions

  • Some final orders and decisions of Boards are public record and must be available for public inspection.
  • The Board of Nursing Facility Administrators publishes a summary of its disciplinary actions on its website.

Specific grounds for action are outlined in administrative rule and include the following:

ARSD 20:49:15:01. Grounds for revocation, suspension, or nonrenewal. The license or emergency permit of a nursing facility administrator may be revoked, suspended, or not renewed by the board for cause upon any of the following grounds:

  1. The licensee failed to complete continuing education requirements;

  2. The licensee or permittee is guilty of fraud, bribery, or deceit in procuring a license or permit, in carrying out the duties as a nursing home administrator, or in obtaining renewal of a license;

  3. The licensee or permittee has been convicted of a felony. The conviction of a felony is the conviction of any offense which would be a felony under the laws of South Dakota if it was committed in the state;

  4. The licensee or permittee is addicted to the use of intoxicating beverages, narcotics, or any of the drugs or controlled substances set forth in SDCL 34-20B to such an extent that the licensee or permittee cannot perform the duties;

  5. The physical or mental condition of the licensee or permittee is determined by a competent examiner to jeopardize those who seek the professional services of the licensee or permittee. A majority of the board may demand an examination of the licensee or permittee. If the licensee or permittee fails to submit to the examination, it is immediate grounds for suspension of the license or permit;

  6. The licensee or permittee is guilty of unprofessional conduct; and

  7. The licensee or permittee has violated any provision of SDCL 36-28 or this article.

ARSD 20:49:15:02. Unprofessional conduct. Unprofessional conduct includes but is not limited to the following:

  1. Failure to exercise technical competence in carrying out nursing facility administration;

  2. Failure to follow or enforce policies or procedures necessary to assure patient or resident welfare and safety;

  3. Failure to safeguard the patient's or resident's dignity and right to privacy;

  4. Violating the confidentiality of information or knowledge concerning the patient or resident;

  5. Mental, verbal, or physical abuse of patients or residents;

  6. Using alcohol or other drugs to the extent that there is significant interference with job performance;

  7. Misuse of drug supplies, narcotics, or patients' or residents' records;

  8. Falsifying patients' or residents' records or intentionally charting incorrectly;

  9. Appropriating medications, supplies, or personal items of the patient or resident or agency;

  10. Forging prescriptions or making drugs available to self, friends, or family members;

  11. Falsifying records submitted to the board, to the state department of health, or to any other government agency;

  12. Delegating nursing facility administrator care, functions, tasks, or responsibilities to others contrary to SDCL 36-28 or to the detriment of patient or resident safety;

  13. Failure to exercise appropriate supervision over persons who are authorized to practice only under the supervision of a licensed professional;

  14. Leaving a nursing facility administrator assignment or post without notifying a substitute;

  15. Assisting any other person to violate or circumvent any provision of SDCL 36-28 or this article;

  16. Permitting an unlicensed person to use a nursing facility administrator license or permit for any purpose; and

  17. Having a license or certificate in a related health care discipline in the state of South Dakota or in another state denied, refused renewal, revoked, or suspended due to unprofessional conduct as defined in items 1 to 16, inclusive, of this rule.