It is no secret that there are problems with assisted living facilities across the state of California. In San Diego County alone, over a five-year period, at least 27 seniors reportedly died of abuse or neglect at nursing homes, according to a joint investigation conducted by the San Diego Union-Tribune and the California HealthCare Foundation’s Center for Health and Reporting.
In the wake of reports of poorly supervised and staffed nursing homes in the state, the California Legislature is considering a slate of 15 bills that would strengthen government oversight of assisted living facilities.
Although the bills have sped through various Senate and Assembly committees in lop-sided votes, they still face obstacles in appropriation committee hearings. Naturally, the assisted living facility industry is not taking this lying down and is lobbying fiercely against the proposed reforms.
Lobbyists representing smaller facilities are claiming that the proposed reforms would place onerous regulations and financial burdens on them. Some claim that smaller facilities are being punished for abuses committed by the larger, corporate facilities.
One of the most notable bills being proffered by the Assembly would increase the maximum fines for major violations. Currently the fine for causing the death of a resident tops out at $150 per violation. The proposed bill would increase that top fine to $15,000 per violation.
The bill’s co-author, Assemblyman Brian Maienschein (R-San Diego) said, “It’s a very vulnerable population. To think that they’re being treated so negligently that it causes their death — and then it’s a $150 fine — that’s pathetic.”
Other bills being proposed would mandate the launch of an online website where consumers could look up a facility’s performance record would mandate an increase in the frequency of home inspections and would compel facilities to carry liability insurance.
A San Diego resident whose grandmother died last year in a van operated by an Oceanside assisted living facility told the Union Tribune, “We cannot let this opportunity fall by the wayside. We can’t wait for another 30 years for somebody to stand up and do something about this.”
The elder abuse attorneys at the Jurewitz Law Group will be following the path of these bills as they move through the legislature. We believe that this vulnerable segment of our population deserves to be protected from abusive and negligent facilities and we support the call for better oversight of the assisted living facility industry.
If you have a loved one who has been injured due to nursing home neglect and abuse, call us at (888) 233-5020 or contact us online to set up a case review with one of our experienced attorneys. We can stop the abuse.
Ross Jurewitz is the founder and managing lawyer of the Jurewitz Law Group, a San Diego personal injury attorney law firm. These San Diego injury accident lawyers specialize in helping people seriously injured in a variety of accidents throughout San Diego County and California.
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