SACRAMENTO -- A group of Bay Area lawmakers has created a legislation package to demand changes and reform within the state Department of Social Services.
Their efforts, the legislators say, are strengthened by the breakdown in communication and chaos that resulted from the closure of Valley Springs Manor in Castro Valley.
Known as the Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly Reform Act of 2014, the bills are co-sponsored by the California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform: Assembly Bill 1571 would require the department to establish an online consumer information system to include license, ownership, survey, complaint and enforcement information on every care facility for the elderly in California by June 2019.
Senate Bill 895 would require the department's Community Care Licensing division to conduct unannounced inspections of all residential care facilities at least once a year. AB1554 would require the department to start and complete complaint investigations in a timely manner, give complainants written notice of findings and provide care facilities an opportunity to appeal. SB911 would increase the qualifications and training requirements for care facility administrators and staff. SB894 would clarify obligations of the department and the licensee and create timelines for the safe relocation of residents when a facility's license has been suspended or revoked. AB1572 would require complete disclosure of ownership and prior ownership of any type of facility, including nursing facilities and any similar entity in other states, including history of compliance or noncompliance and require cross-checking with the state Department of Public Health. SB911 would require facilities that accept elderly residents with restricted or specialized health conditions to employ trained medical personnel on a full- or part-time basis as appropriate. AB1572 would enhance the rights of resident councils and family councils in residential care facilities for the elderly. AB1523 would require facilities to obtain and maintain liability insurance.
Two bills have not yet been assigned numbers in the Legislature. The first would increase fines for violations of care facility regulations and create a citation classification system. Another would create a new statute and penalties for noncompliance.