Throughout March and April 2014, the bills that comprise the RCFE Reform Act were heard for the first time by legislative committees. The bills in the act are designed to protect the health, safety, and security of the Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly (RCFE). There are twelve bills within the act, and if passed, will cause a serious, direct impact in the RCFE community in California and a potentially far reaching impact on neighboring states such as Oregon, Nevada, Arizona and even Washington, Idaho, Colorado. Over time, this could ripple all the way down to Texas and to the east coast in Florida. The bills are as follows:
SB 894 (Corbett) RCFE Suspension/Revocation of Licenses
Up to this point, the suspension and revocation laws for RCFE licenses have been too vague. This is leaving the Department of Social Services (DSS) unable to adequately protect the health and safety of elder and dependent adults living in residential care facilities whose licenses have been suspended or revoked. If passed, SB 894 strengthens the obligations of the DSS and said licensee and includes adequate relocation timelines for the safety of the residents.
SB 895 (Corbett) Inspections/Evaluations of RCFEs
Evaluations of RCFEs are crucial to ensure proper laws and procedures are being followed daily. Unfortunately, in 2004, California’s Community Care Licensing Division (CCL) started checking facilities only once every five years. They had trouble maintaining even this schedule. If passed, SB 895 would require the CCL to comprehensively check all RCFEs at least annually, unannounced.
According to the latest report from The National Center for Assisted Living, many of the facilities in operation today will not meet the state-mandated requirements for staffing levels and quality care. As a potential result, many assisted living facilities might find themselves up for sale if their licenses are revoked due to neglect and abuse issues that have surfaced during the long gaps in CCL inspections.
SB 911 (Block) Training and Qualifications of RCFE Staff
SB 911 would strengthen the training requirements and qualifications for all RCFE staff and for staff that work directly with at-risk residents. Currently, these standards are woefully inadequate, requiring little more than a GED and between four and forty hours of mandatory training, with six to forty hours of annual training.
SB 1153 (Leno) Ban on Admissions
SB 1153 would impose penalties for non-compliance of RCFE laws and procedures. This bill would authorize DSS to suspend the admission of new residents until complaints can be proved.
What This Means for You
Overall, these changes are necessary and a step in the right direction for RCFE reform. Unfortunately, many facilities may be forced to sell their residential care facility due to inadequate funds to cover new fees and penalties incurred as a result. For more information about how these bills may affect you in your state, please talk to a brokerage firm who is knowledgable in the healthcare industry and who is dedicated to the improvement of Senior Care.