Three Bills in California Assisted-Living Overhaul Package Fail
Three bills aimed at overhauling assisted-living facilities in California have failed to advance in the state Legislature, KQED's "State of Health" reports.
Observers note that separate bills advanced by the Legislature put the responsibility for changes on the industry, instead of state government agencies (Stryker, "State of Health," KQED, 8/18).
The measures were part of a larger package of bills, called the RCFE Reform Act of 2014.
Meanwhile, Gov. Jerry Brown (D) in July signed another bill (AB 1572) in the package that requires assisted-living facilities to give residents greater representation by enabling them to create and maintain a resident council (California Healthline, 7/24).
Details of AB 1571
One bill (AB 1571) in the overhaul package that did not make it out of committee would have created a more detailed online consumer information portal with data on every licensed assisted-living facility in the state.
Sen. Susan Eggman (D-Stockton), the bill's sponsor, said she is "not at all finished with this issue," and plans to reintroduce similar legislation in the next legislative session.
Further, Pat McGinnis -- executive director of California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform, which supported the bill -- said, "It is very disappointing ... and [now there is] absolutely no way for consumers to compare" California's assisted-living facilities.
Details of AB 1454
Another measure (AB 1454) that failed would have required every facility licensed by the state Department of Social Services to undergo annual, unannounced inspections.
Assembly member Ian Calderon (D-Whittier), the bill's sponsor, said, "Although the Legislature provided an increase in funding to [DSS] in the 2014-2015 budget to protect our children and elderly, annual inspections continue to be urgently needed as part of the oversight process."
Calderon added, "Without increasing the frequency of unannounced visits, our state will continue to put our most vulnerable populations -- children and elderly -- at risk."
Details of AB 1554
A third failed bill (AB 1554) would have required DSS to investigate complaints related to alleged abuse or imminent physical harm within one business day, instead of 10.
Assembly member Nancy Skinner (D-East Bay), the bill's sponsor, said, "My frustration is, if we have higher expectations on the facilities, if we don’t have responsibility of the agency to enforce, then how are we going to feel assured that these facilities are complying?" ("State of Health," KQED, 8/18).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.