In this Issue
- Coming Soon – Hope for Alternatives to Nursing Homes
- New Attorney Ethics Rules Effective November 1, 2018
- Report Finds Widespread Human Rights Violations In Nursing Homes
- Nursing Home Regulations Under Development at DPH
- Insurance Agent Gets License Revoked for Wrongfully Charging a Senior to Qualify for the VA Aid and Attendance Benefit
- The Nursing Home Industry is Shrinking What To Know Before You Go
- 55 Steps
Coming Soon – Hope for Alternatives to Nursing Homes
Last month, in one of his last acts as Governor – Governor Brown vetoed AB 2233 (Kalra), a bill that would have increased the number of slots for the state’s Assisted Living Waiver program from the current 3,700 to more than 18,500 and would have expanded the program beyond the 15 counties where it is currently available.
Imagine that! There are 58 counties in California and the Assisted Living Waiver program is offered in only 15 of them and the Governor vetoes the expansion!
The Assisted Living Waiver (ALW) provides an alternative to nursing homes by permitting individuals on Medi-Cal to access care in less restrictive, community-based settings — such as assisted living facilities or public subsidized housing — at one quarter of the cost of nursing facility care. Despite the substantial savings of community based alternatives and the fact that most consumers would prefer in-home or community based care, the Brown Administration has continued to resist expanding alternatives, preferring to give away billions of Medi-Cal dollars to nursing home owners with no accountability and to force aged and disabled consumers into substandard nursing homes.
Numerous studies (as well as the ever-decreasing occupancy rates in nursing homes) have shown that Californians prefer to receive care outside of nursing homes, and the taxpayers of California could save millions of dollars by offering this care in more homelike settings. California should follow the lead of states like Oregon and Washington who have robust programs in which Medicaid pays for assisted living care and in-home care. In contrast, Californians are so used to waiting lists, limited services, services offered only in some zip codes or only in some counties along with a patchwork of eligibility requirements, that it is becoming difficult to even pretend that California offers alternatives to nursing homes. Those who actually end up with adequate services feel like they’ve hit the lottery. As we say goodbye to Governor Brown, we hope to welcome a Governor who will look at the long term gains of offering real and accessible alternatives to nursing homes.
New Attorney Ethics Rules Effective November 1, 2018
On May 10, 2018, the Supreme Court of California approved the first comprehensive amendments to the Rules of Professional Conduct of the State Bar of California in 29 years. The court approved forty-two (42) rules as modified by the court, twenty-seven (27) rules as submitted by the State Bar, and rejected approval of one rule. The new rules will replace the current Rules of Professional Conduct effective November 1, 2018. The order approving the 69 new rules, along with the Court’s comments can be reviewed here: http://www.calbar.ca.gov/Portals/0/documents/Supreme%20Court%20Order%202018-05-09.pdf
Report Finds Widespread Human Rights Violations In Nursing Homes
The Department of Public Health (DPH) has posted lists of the California nursing homes that have sought its approval to staff below the minimum staffing requirements the Legislature adopted last year in SB 97. Thus far, 344 skilled nursing facilities have applied for “workforce shortage” waivers, while 391 facilities applied for “patient needs” waivers. The massive numbers of waiver requests expose the rampant understaffing in California nursing homes. Moreover, the waiver process is having the perverse effect of DPH endorsing understaffing at California’s most poorly staffed nursing homes rather than enforcing the (highly inadequate) minimum staffing requirements.
Nursing Home Regulations Under Development at DPH
The California Department of Public Health (DPH) initiated multiple sets of regulations in October that could have important impacts on the lives of nursing home residents.
- On October 26, 2018, the DPH published proposed regulations that would amend and replace emergency regulations adopted in July 2018 governing “patient needs” waivers for nursing homes that do not want to comply with new staffing requirements. DPH is accepting written comments on the proposed regulations through December 7, 2018 and is holding a public hearing on that date. CANHR has challenged the legitimacy of the patient needs waiver system that is the primary subject of the proposed regulations.
- On October 30, 2018, the DPH held a stakeholder meeting to consider developing new regulations governing change of ownership of nursing homes and other health care facilities. The public has until November 28, 2018 to submit written comments on questions DPH posed at the meeting.
- On October 17, 2018, the DPH held a stakeholder meeting on updating regulations governing reporting of unusual occurrences by nursing homes. The public has until November 19, 2018 to submit written comments on questions DPH posed at the meeting.
Insurance Agent Gets License Revoked for Wrongfully Charging a Senior to Qualify for the VA Aid and Attendance Benefit
The Department of Insurance revoked the license and fined an insurance agent who wrongfully charged a senior for qualifying for the Veterans Aid and Attendance Benefit. To read the action of the Department of Insurance, CLICK HERE.
The Nursing Home Industry is Shrinking
A recent New York Times article spotlights the falling occupancy rates (down to just above 80%) at nursing homes throughout the country. Potential residents are increasingly going to alternative settings like assisted living facilities or receiving long term care in their own homes.
To read the full article, CLICK HERE.
What To Know Before You Go
CANHR’s postcard guide to nursing home residents’ rights regarding discharge and eviction is now available for printing and distribution. The postcard provides important information in a simple and portable format to counter all of the nonsense nursing homes tell residents and their families when a resident’s Medicare rehabilitation benefit is ending.
CLICK HERE to download the postcard.
CANHR on the Move
Please join us for a cocktail
reception, dinner, and live
auction to celebrate
CANHR’s 35 Years of Advocacy
May 4th, 2019
San Francisco State University Towers Conference center