NURSING HOMES: Bill Would Forestall Evictions
Spurred by the unannounced eviction of 63 elderly residents from a bankrupt nursing home last fall, the state Legislature passed a bill yesterday that would prevent such occurrences in the future. A spokesperson for the bill's sponsor, Assemblyman Robert Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys), noted that while "California law requires 30 days notice before the closure of any health facility," it does not apply to bankruptcy trustees. To address this issue, the Los Angeles Times reports that Hertzberg's bill "requires that steps be followed in all closures ... specifically includ[ing] bankruptcies," and "charges the state Department of Health Services with the responsibility of preventing sudden evictions." Gov. Pete Wilson's signature is now needed to make the bill a law.
Out On The Street
Hertzberg's bill was prompted last fall when the parent company of the Reseda Care Center declared bankruptcy. A federal bankruptcy court appointed Alfred Siegel as a trustee, and two days later he evicted all 63 residents, with the Department of Health Services receiving only two hours notification and some family members of residents getting no word at all. A summary of Hertzberg's bill notes that "Siegel was not aware that the state has an emergency fund that could have been used to stave off the evictions for several days until suitable housing was found in an organized fashion" (Willman, 8/19).