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Tuesday, December 11 , 2018, 2:36 am | Fair 44º

Your Health
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Legislature Approvals Proposals to Improve Residential Care Facilities for Elderly

The Elder & Dependent Adult Abuse Prevention Council of Santa Barbara County is pleased to note that Gov. Jerry Brown and the state Legislature have approved several state legislative proposals addressing problems in residential care facilities for the elderly in the recent session.

"Our communities have changed in the past 20 years, including the residents of assisted living facilities,” said Joyce Ellen Lippman, facilitator of the Elder & Dependent Adult Abuse Prevention Council of Santa Barbara County. “As our community has aged, so has the resident population. The population in assisted living facilities has aged, grown frailer and with more chronic and disabling health conditions."

“Needs of senior citizens are increasing due to numerous factors, such as increasing numbers of the old-old, reduced personal incomes due to the continuing recession and increasing health care costs,” Amy Mallett said. “As chair of the Area Agency on Aging Advisory Council, we support efforts to meet these needs, including improving care for residents of long-term care facilities.”

“Several bills that made it through the state legislative process are of specific interest to the Abuse Prevention Council,” Lippman said.

These bills include:

» SB 1153, authored by state Sen. Leno, gives the State Department of Social Services the ability to ban new admissions at RCFE’s with significant problems

» SB 911, authored by state Sen. Block, increases requirements for staff and administrator training

» SB 1382, authored by state Sen. Block, raises licensing fees by 20 percent

» SB 895, authored by Sen. Corbett, requires Department of Social Services to post inspection reports and the annual inspection report

» SB 2171, authored by state Sen. Wieckowski, creates the first statutory bill of rights for residents of Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly

» AB 1572, authored by Assembly Member Eggman, strengthens family and resident councils

» AB 1523, authored by Assembly Member Atkins, requires liability insurance for RCFE licensees

» AB 1899, authored by Assembly Member Brown, calls for a permanent lifetime ban for licensees who abandon residents

» AB 2044, authored by Assembly Member Rodriguez, ensures every RCFE has a manager or designee present 24 hours a day

“These bills, when enacted, will improve care of RCFE residents, which is our goal," Lippman said. “There are still several issues that remain due to bills that were unable to make it through the state legislative process. These unsuccessful bills would have allowed expedited inspections, created an online consumer information system and mandated annual inspections of RCFEs.”

“During the next legislative session, we will work with our local legislators to address these three issues,” Mallett said. “It is important to protect the residents and ensure their safety.”

For more information, please call 805.925.9554, 805.965.3288 or 800.510.2020.

— Joyce Ellen Lippman is director of the Central Coast Commission for Senior Citizens.

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