A package of bills aimed to improve oversight over California’s assisted-living
facilities currently await Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature. The comprehensive
reforms were proposed after a series of investigations revealed widespread
mismanagement at residential care facilities.
In one of the most egregious cases, one dozen elderly patients were
abandoned at a California assisted living center. The California Department of Social Services ordered the Castro Valley
facility to temporarily shut its doors on October 24, 2013. Yet two days
later, 14 patients remained with very few staff members to care for them.
To prevent similar incidents, California lawmakers have approved a series
of measures intended to improve oversight over the long-term care industry,
- AB 1899: Operators who have had their licenses revoked or forfeited for
abandoning a facility would be permanently ineligible for reinstatement
of a license;
- AB 2044: Facilities would be required to have trained staff on duty at
all times, including at least one person who is trained in CPR and first aid;
- AB 2171: The legislature would adopt a Bill of Rights for assisted-living
- AB 2236: Assisted-living facilities would face stiffer civil penalties
for violating regulations. The fine for causing an assisted-living resident’s
death would increase from $150 to $15,000.
- SB 895: Long-term care facilities would be required to fix problems identified
during inspections within 10 days in most cases;
- SB 911: Assisted-living center administrators and staff members would be
required to undergo more stringent training; and
- SB 1153: The state would be authorized to suspend new admissions at non-compliant
Gov. Jerry Brown previously signed a bill (AB 1572) that requires assisted-living
facilities to assist residents in establishing and maintaining a resident
council. In addition, Brown also approved legislation (AB 1523) that will
require all residential care facilities for the elderly to maintain liability
insurance in an amount of at least $1,000,000 per occurrence and $3,000,000
in the annual aggregate to cover injury to residents or guests caused
by the negligent acts of the facility or its employees. The new requirement
will take effect on July 1, 2015.
Unfortunately, some of the proposed reforms never made it through the California
legislature. Most notably, assisted-living facilities will not be subject
to yearly, unannounced inspections.