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LEGISLATIVE ALERT!


Updated 9/5/2006

Important Long Term Care Bills Pass Legislature:

Need Governor's Signature

In the final days of the session, the California Legislature passed several important bills relating to long term care and sent them to the Governor for his signature. See summaries below.

Thank you for supporting these bills. However, they still need the Governor's signature, so please write him and urge him to sign these bills. Send letters to: The Honorable Arnold Schwarzenegger, Governor of California, State Capitol, Sacramento, CA 95814. Or fax letters to (916) 445-4633 or visit www.govmail.ca.gov to email the Governor.

CANHR Sponsored Bills:

SB 1197 (Soto) - Notice of a Decedent's Death: This bill will conform Probate Code § 215 to its sister statutes, Probate Code §§ 9202 and 19202 and provide consistency and clarity in the law by establishing that the Department of Health Services (DHS) has 4 months after notice of death is given in which to file an estate recovery claim. Currently, the Probate Code does not specify a timeline for DHS to file a claim for non-probated estates. This omission means that DHS could wait two or more years after notice of death is given to file a claim, leaving the estate unsettled and the survivors liable for many years after the decedent's death. This bill establishes a fair and equitable statutory timeline similar to those in probate and trust administration.

SB 1212 (Torlakson) -  Continuing Care Retirement Communities Provider Reserve Disclosure: This bill promotes consumers' informed choice by requiring  disclosure of all provider reserve funds - essential information to do comparative analysis of different providers and to ensure future financial stability before signing away life savings for a promise of care. The bill also includes clarification of transfer process to higher levels of care and reduces the escrow reserve requirements for expanded or new CCRCs.

SB 1248 (Alquist) - Nursing Home Residents' Rights: This bill will guarantee equal rights for California nursing home residents by requiring all California nursing homes to comply with residents' rights established under federal law. Currently, residents of Medicare and Medi-Cal certified nursing homes have greater rights than residents of non-certified nursing homes. SB 1248 will remedy this inequity by extending the federal rights to all residents. The rights extended by SB 1248 are very basic, like the right to choose a doctor, to have reasonable needs accommodated and to notice before eviction.

Other Important Bills:

SB 1312 (Alquist) - Nursing Home Inspections: This bill will make California nursing home laws and regulations relevant again by requiring the Department of Health Services (DHS) to determine compliance with their requirements during inspections and investigations. In recent years, DHS has not evaluated compliance with any California nursing home reforms, rendering key laws, such as the minimum staffing requirements, useless.  SB 1312 removes language from an obscure budget bill that DHS relied on to ignore California law. SB 1312's nursing home provisions will take effect on July 1, 2007.  The bill also establishes a new system of hospital fines.

SB 1609 (Simitian) Reverse Mortgage Protections: This bill protects seniors from predatory lending practices and abuse in connection with reverse mortgages by ensuring that seniors are protected from fraud and abuse associated with reverse mortgages. First, it requires that seniors receive financial counseling from a Department of Housing and Urban Development approved counselor.  Second, it requires lenders to prepare loan documents in the language in which the reverse mortgage was negotiated.  Third, it prohibits lenders from requiring a borrower to purchase an annuity as a condition of the loan.

SB 1847 (Senate Committee on Banking, Finance, & Insurance) – Annuity Protections: This bill requires informing seniors who purchase annuities that Medi-Cal is entitled to be reimbursed from the residue of the annuity should the senior ever receive Medi-Cal benefits.  The senior is also to be informed that if they are the annuitant, then income derived from the annuity while they are on Medi-Cal may be used to meet the annuitant's share of cost.

AB 2609 (Evans) – Medication Training for Staff of Residential Care: This bill requires 16 hours of specialized training for staff responsible for distributing medications to residents for self-administration starting January 1, 2008.

AB 2836 (Kornette) – Sprinkler Systems for Residential Care: This bill requires Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly (RCFEs) that house or care for four or more residents, to have an approved, operable automatic fire sprinkler system on and after January 1, 2014, if the facility is licensed as of January 1, 2010.