Brown Signs Package of Assisted-Living Reform Bills

by Deborah Schoch, The CHCF Center for Health Reporting / The California Report

Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law Monday a bill imposing a 100-fold increase in the top fine for violations of state regulations at assisted-living homes for the elderly.

The top fine will now be $15,000, for violations causing death or serious injury, up from $150.

Brown’s signature on the fine increase came one day after he signed nine other bills tightening state oversight of the more than 7,500 assisted-living homes in California, marking the state’s most sweeping overhaul of the industry in nearly three decades.

Brown’s signature on the reform package is a major victory for assisted living residents, said Patricia McGinnis, executive director of California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform, the state’s largest advocacy group for long-term care residents.

“We look at it as a good start,” said McGinnis. “But we’re not finished by any stretch of the imagination. And I don’t think the legislators are, either. I think they like the fact that they’re going to be changing people’s lives on an immediate basis.”

Including reform bills previously signed by Brown, the governor has approved all 13 assisted living bills passed by the Legislature.

Four other bills failed to muster the needed votes and get to his desk.

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The CHCF Center for Health Reporting partners with news organizations to cover California health policy. Based at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, the Center is funded by the nonprofit California HealthCare Foundation.

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