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Introducing the RCFE Reform Act of 2014

In the last issue of the CANHR Advocate (Winter 2013), we cited the wave of prominent media stories regarding major problems in Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly (RCFEs) in California and CANHR’s own white paper (http://canhr.org/temp/Residential_Care_in_California.pdf) in calling for comprehensive statewide reform. Well, now we have a real chance.

On January 13, a bipartisan group of eight state senators and assembly members appeared together at the Capitol press room to announce the RCFE Reform Act of 2014 sponsored by CANHR and moderated by Executive Director Pat McGinnis. The bill package addresses a number of pressing issues in RCFE care. Currently, the RCFE Reform Act is made up of ten bills (all bills are sponsored by CANHR unless otherwise noted):

  1. AB 1571 (Eggman) Consumer Information System - requiring CCL to establish an on-line information system to include license, ownership, survey, complaint and enforcement information on every licensed RCFE in California.
  2. SB 895 (Corbett) Inspections/Evaluations of RCFEs - requiring CCL to conduct unannounced, comprehensive inspections of all RCFEs at least annually.
  3. AB 1554 (Skinner) Responding to Consumer Complaints - requiring CCL to start and complete complaint investigations in a timely manner, give complainants written notice of findings and provide complainants an opportunity to appeal.
  4. AB 2236 (Stone) Increased Penalties for Violations - increases civil penalties against RCFEs for violations of laws and regulations.
  5. SB 1153 (Leno) Ban on Admissions - gives CCL the ability to suspend the admission of new residents in facilities where regulatory violations yield a substantial probability of harm.
  6. AB 2171 (Wieckowski) Statutory Bill of Rights - creates a statutory, comprehensive, modern bill of rights for residents and gives the right to seek injunctive relief to stop violations of residents’ rights.
  7. SB 911 (Block) Training and Qualifications of RCFE Staff - increases the training requirements for RCFE administrators and staff and requires facilities that have residents with restricted or prohibited health conditions to employ trained medical personnel.
  8. SB 894 (Corbett) RCFE Suspension/Revocation of Licenses - strengthens and clarifies the obligations of CCL and the licensee when a license is suspended or revoked and creates timelines for the safe relocation of residents when a facility’s license has been suspended or revoked.
  9. AB 1572 (Eggman) Resident & Family Councils - amends current laws to enhance the rights of resident councils and family councils.
  10. AB 1523 (Atkins) RCFE Liability Insurance 
- requires RCFEs to obtain and maintain liability insurance. (Sponsored by Consumer Advocates for RCFE Reform)

Additional bills have been offered by other legislators, many of which overlap with those listed above. CANHR will be tracking those bills and will provide updates on other legislation affecting California long term care at http://canhr.org/legislation/index.html.

The 2014 legislative session provides a once-in-a-generation opportunity to improve the quality of care and the quality of life for over 170,000 assisted living residents in California. In order to ensure the success of such a comprehensive reform package, consumer and organizational support for these bills is absolutely essential. We need your letters of support! For more information about the RCFE Reform Act, the individual bills, and what you can do to help, please go to: http://canhr.org/legislation/rcfe_reform_act.html