While every industry in the United States is subject to regulatory and legislative oversight, this is especially true for the aging services industry. The reasoning is understandable: seniors by and large are a very vulnerable segment of the population. There’s a long and tragic history of predatory behaviors towards seniors, and US legislators are always trying to keep up as technology evolves and new methods arise. As a result, the legal landscape of the aging services and senior care industry is in an almost constant state of flux. It’s imperative that organizations keep up with these changes, because the unfortunate truth is that while only a small segment of the industry is perpetrating predatory acts, every single organization is affected by the law.
Between June 2017 and June 2018, 29 states changed, amended, or implemented new policies within their assisted living regulations – that’s more than half of the country! While these changes affect a broad range of areas, the most common among them is the protection of residents and the assurance that the facilities in which they live are well run. The changes were to areas such as:
- Licensing requirements
- Staff training requirements
- Administrator qualifications
- Evaluations of competence
- Increased training in dementia-related care
- Resident’s rights
- Reporting of abuse
- Reporting of neglect
- Emergency preparedness
California passed legislation protecting the LGBTQ+ community by forbidding assisted living communities to deny admission or otherwise discriminate against someone based upon their perceived or actual sexual orientation, which gender they identify as, or their HIV status.
Some states also received funds from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to conduct thorough national background checks for employees with direct access to patients.
The National Center for Assisted Living assembled a report on all of these changes and covered them state-by-state. Due to the difference in language referring to assisted living facilities, they define them as “communities that offer seniors housing, supportive services, personalized assistance with ADLs, and some level of health care.” Check out the report to see if your state has been affected by the new legislation and learn what changes you may have to make.