Senior Care Facility at Issue

Planners of a new congregate care facility in Santa Barbara who want to build an 18-bed facility needed a waiver from the state to go beyond the area’s 12-bed limit. The state denied the waiver.

Now comes SB 177 by Tony Strickland (R-Moorpark), which would reclassify the area so the new facility can have 18 beds rather than its current 12-bed allowance.

“This is a bill that lowers the population threshold from 500,000 to 400,000 that triggers the 12-bed limit,” Strickland said.

Linda Tanner, president of Visiting Nurse and Hospice Care of Santa Barbara, said the situation in Santa Barbara is pretty dire. “From a practical standpoint, this is a small change, but it’s a change that is so important to hospice care in the Santa Barbara area,” she said.

Michael Bordofsky, a physician in Santa Barbara, put it a little more boldly:

“Imagine the irony of being terminally ill, and having to wait and wait for a room — and really, to wait for anything,” Bordofsky said. “Let alone waiting for a room in which to die.”

California has more seniors than any other state, and Santa Barbara County has more seniors than other California counties, according to Bordofsky.

“We are facing an absolute tidal wave of seniors,” he said. “My partner calls this the ger-apocalypse.”

The change basically acts as a state waiver, he said. “We are poised in our community to take care of our own,” he said. “Our goal is simple — to do what’s right for our elders and our community.”

But what’s really right is when you meet the tenets of the law, Stephanie Roberson of the California Nurses Association said. “We at CNA always support more beds, and more access — and we do appreciate that fact [that the need is great in Santa Barbara]. But we question whether building standards have been met in this bill.”


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