Assisted living fines often go uncollected

by Jeff McDonald and Matt Clark, San Diego Union Tribune

assisted_living_community_01When the California Department of Social Services issues fines to assisted living homes for failing to properly care for elderly residents, the owners are told to pay within 10 days.

That’s not what usually happens.

Since July 2007, the department has collected only half of the $2.9 million in penalties it levied against facilities statewide, according to a U-T Watchdog review of state data.

The majority of fines either don’t get paid or are satisfied weeks, months or even years after they are billed. One factor at play: There’s no penalty for late payment.

“You cannot have a situation where the laws are on the books and you don’t somehow enforce the laws, and then when fines are assessed, you don’t in fact collect the fines,” said state Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, the chairman of the Human Services Committee. He has called for hearings in response to the U-T’s ongoing coverage of assisted living centers.

See Video: Lax fine collection for care homes