A bill passed through Florida’s state senate by unanimous vote this week that would require increased regulation of assisted living facilities within the state.
The bill, SB 636, provides specifications regarding the oversight of assisted living facilities, including a rating system available to consumers via the Agency for Health Care Administration.
The bill was drafted and proposed in response to findings by the Miami Herald in 2011 that included instances of abuse and neglect, Sen. Eleanor Sobel, sponsor of the bill, told the Herald.
According to the bill summary, the legislation works toward “providing that Medicaid prepaid behavioral health plans are responsible for enrolled mental health residents; revising the actions in which the Agency for Health Care Administration may deny, revoke, or suspend the license of an assisted living facility and impose an administrative fine; requiring the agency to regularly inspect every licensed assisted living facility; requiring the agency to propose a rating system of assisted living facilities for consumers and create content for the agency’s website that makes available to consumers information regarding assisted living facilities, etc.”
It would also require a study of AHCA’s facility inspections, ensure requirements regarding training of new employees and mandate specialty licenses for those communities with residents requiring mental health care.
The bill is “a stepping stone to see where we need to be for the safety and protection of residents,” Brian Lee, director of Families for Better Care, told the Miami Herald.
Florida providers have expressed efforts toward classification of “assisted living” communities, including support from the Assisted Living Federation of America.