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 accompaniment bills are as follows:
AB 2236 (Stone and Mainschein) Increased Penalties for Violations
Currently, the maximum penalty for violation of RCFE laws and regulations in California is $150, even if the violation results in the death of a resident. AB 2236 would give new, stiffer minimum and maximum penalties, allocating fifty percent of all revenue gathered from these civil penalties to go toward an emergency fund for the relocation of residents in the instances of revoked or suspended licenses.
AB 1554 (Skinner) Responding to Consumer Complaints
Until now, the CCL did not have an effective method of investigating complaints filed by residents of RCFEs. AB1554 would require California’s CCL to investigate complaints in a timely fashion and provide written notice of the investigation and findings.
AB 1571 (Eggman) Consumer Information System
AB 1571 would require the DSS and CCL to set up an online information system listing accurate, updated information about many issues.
- Enforcement information
If passed, this bill must be implemented by 2019. Also, owners of RCFEs would have to disclose any previous ownership of a similar facility in California and other states such as Oregon, Idaho, and Utah. A history of non-compliance or compliance will also be recorded on the online information system.
AB 1572 (Eggman) Resident & Family Councils
Currently, resident care facilities for the elderly in California have no obligation to inform residents and their families or representatives of their right to form a Resident or Family Council. If the bill is passed, potential buyers of residential care homes currently for sale in California will be required to inform residents and family members of their right to form councils and peer support groups.
AB 1523 (Atkins) RCFE Liability Insurance
If passed, AB 1523 will require all RCFEs in California to obtain and maintain liability insurance as a condition to licensure. This would set precedence for other states such as Texas and Florida.
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. For more information about how these bills may affect you in your state, please talk to an informed brokerage who is knowledgable in the healthcare industry and is dedicated to the well being of the Senior population.