California Lawmakers Propose 12 Senior Living Reform Measures

Lawmakers have proposed a package of bills meant to reform California’s assisted living industry after an investigative series revealed what the UT-San Diego termed “inadequate supervision and other problems” at several communities.

Senators Marty Block, Ellen Corbett, Mark Leno, and Assembly Members Toni G. Atkins, Susan Talamantes Eggman, Nancy Skinner and Mariko Yamada are among the lawmakers who were invited to participate in a Monday press conference, during which the reforms package was introduced.

California’s assisted living industry is licensed as residential care facilities for the elderly (RCFE). There are 7,500 licensed communities in the state with more than 174,000 beds. The RCFE Reform Act of 2014 is in “direct response” to September and December reports by U-T San Diego, in partnership with the CHCF Center for Health Reporting, the publication says.

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Throughout the investigative series, U-T San Diego wrote about at least 27 fatalities in San Diego County assisted living communities it says were caused by neglect and other regulatory issues.

The 12 bills that were introduced on Monday include establishing an online consumer information system, increasing the number of inspections on communities to each year rather than every five years, and banning communities that pose a danger to residents from admitting any new prospects.

Other new changes proposed in the bills include enhanced staffing in assisted living communities, increased training for staff, and a quicker process to close communities with poor records, along with increased protections for relocating residents and mandated liability insurance.

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Majority Leader Toni Atkins announced Monday she will introduce the liability insurance regulation for California’s RCFEs as one of the reform initiatives that will be considered by the state’s legislature during the 2014 session.

Sponsors and supporters of the reform package include the California Association for Nursing Home Reform, the Consumer Federation of California, and the Consumer Advocates for RCFE Reform in San Diego.

Written by Alyssa Gerace

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Editor’s note: A previous version of this article said that 14 reform initiatives were introduced when in fact there were 12 proposals. We regret the error.