The RCFE Reform Act of 2014 was long overdue. For too long, our seniors resided in loosely regulated facilities, many of which failed to follow and comply with the regulatory scheme meant to protect seniors living in RCFEs. Many seniors suffered grievous physical injuries due to the haphazard manner by which these facilities were operated, resulting in the sub-standard care and treatment of their residents. California’s legislatures took up the challenge and implemented much needed reforms to ensure the safety of our state’s seniors residing in assisted living facilities, to include RCFEs, board and care facilities, and assisted living facilities. Here is a list of the following reforms and an explanation of how the individual bills will improve the care and treatment received by our seniors in assisted living communities:
SB 895 (Corbett): Requires DSS to post inspection reports; report on annual inspections. SB 895 will greatly increase the degree and intensity of the regulatory oversight performed by the Department of Social Services. Before this bill, RCFEs did not face an adequate level of regulatory scrutiny of their operations. As a result, many of our seniors were injured by the failure by these facilities to comply with the regulatory obligations designed to promote and protect the health and safety of senior residents. Now, DSS will perform annual inspections of all RCFEs to determine compliance with the applicable state regulations. Increased scrutiny will force RCFEs to bring their practices code compliant, thereby benefiting our seniors, a particularly vulnerable segment of our population in need of protection.
SB 911 (Block): Increases administrator and staff training in RCFEs. SB 911 will force RCFEs to ensure that their Administrator and staff operates and manages senior care in such a careful manner as to protect the physical safety and well-being of the persons entrusted to their care by properly overseeing residents, to exercise due care in hiring managers and employees, to properly train and supervise staff responsible for medical care and treatment the residents, and to take the custodial care actions and precautions required to maintain the safety of those persons under their care.
SB 1382 (Block): Increases RCFE annual fees by 20%. This increase will provide the necessary funding to DSS for the increased regulatory oversight.
SB 1153 (Leno): Provides a ban on new admissions for out of compliance RCFEs. SB 1153 acts as an important punitive measure to incentivize RCFEs to comply with the regulations meant to ensure the health and safety of their senior residents.
AB 1523 (Atkins): Requires all RCFEs to carry liability insurance. For too long, California’s seniors resided in assisted living facilities, not knowing whether they would receive justice and compensation for injuries sustained as a result of the facility’s wrongful conduct. This bill provides the appropriate protection for seniors who are injured by the wrongful conduct of the facility. It provides a financial remedy for seniors who are injured and seek reimbursement for their medical bills and compensation for pain and suffering.
AB 1572 (Eggman): Increases rights of Resident and Family Council. This bill increases the residents with a forum to voice their concerns about the operation of the facility and the care and treatment provided by the facility staff. It gives our seniors a voice to speak out against wrongful treatment and/or shortcomings in the operational integrity of the facility.
AB 1899 (Brown): Prohibits reinstatement of license when licensee abandons residents. AB 1899 bans owners for life from the industry if they abandon residents. It is akin to the death penalty, a warranted form of punishment for a business who abandons needy seniors who cannot care for themselves indecently. This bill establishes a zero tolerance policy for such abhorrent conduct.
AB 2044 (Rodriguez): Requires administrator on sight 24/7 and increased staff training. RCFE’s assume the responsibility to provide a heightened degree of supervision with respect to a person of advanced age, to include the duty to adequately care for its residents who are no longer able to care for themselves. Before AB 2044, many facilities did not provide sufficient staff to care for the residents, which put the health and safety of the residents in jeopardy. The bill also requires the presence of an Administrator 24/7 to ensure the appropriate level of supervision of the caregivers and residents.
The California legislators should be applauded for taking legislative action to address the crisis in care received by our seniors by creating a new model of care where the health and safety of senior residents takes priority.