Out of 30 nominations nationwide, CARR and Sacramento Bee investigative reporter, Charles Pillar, were selected as this year's FAC's Free Speech & Open Government Awardees.
This was the first year the First Amendment Coalition selected a 501(c) 3 advocacy organization for the award. Traditionally, the award is given to journalists recognizing their work in promoting government transparency for the public good. CARR was selected unanimously for "demonstrating the effectiveness of advocacy using government data and the internet". CARR is pleased to have its work recognized by this award-winning organization and to be so closely affiliated with others "dedicated to advancing free speech, more open and accountable government and public participation in civic affairs".
Long-term care options require extensive research, research that few consumers have the time to do, especially when an immediate need occurs. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) provides consumers with decipherable icons and easy access to compliance histories for skilled nursing facilities; however, this type of data is still not provided for consumers of assisted living services. CARR was founded in 2009 to begin to fill this void and is currently the only public charity in California providing consumers unbiased, online access to the compliance histories for assisted living facilities.
But....poring over individual public documents is quite time-consuming (we should know) and, to the untrained eye, may provide limited assistance when attempting to initially narrow down a facility search. To ease this burden for the consumer, CARR has partnered with San Diego County’s Aging and Independence Services, to provide "Facility Snapshots"* on the assisted living facilities in the region. (AIS-sponsored Facility Snapshot's are denoted on our site by this green icon).
While this incremental reform is a step in the right direction, it is certainly not the sweeping structural changes advocates were hoping for at the beginning of the legislative session. The impact of all of these bills is now in the hands of an already over-burdened Department of Social Services, whose track record suggests limited ability to enforce compliance and to influence improved quality of care. However, this flurry of attention and activity should signal to the industry that the veil has been lifted. The writing on the wall says advocates and consumers will be demanding more.
The Governor signed the following bills today:
* AB 1570 by Assemblymember Wesley Chesbro (D-Arcata): Increases training requirements for licensees and direct care staff of residential care facilities for the elderly.
* AB 1751 by Assemblymember Richard H. Bloom (D-Santa Monica): Requires resident representation on governing boards of residential care facilities for the elderly and quarterly reporting of financial statements.
* AB 1899 by Assemblymember Cheryl Brown (D-San Bernardino): Prohibits the reinstatement of a license for licensees of residential care facilities for the elderly who abandon a facility, resulting in a threat to the residents’ health and safety.
* AB 2044 by Assemblymember Freddie Rodriguez (D-Pomona): Enacts additional staffing and health and safety requirements at residential care facilities for the elderly.
In its report, 6Beds Inc., a group of small home providers, expressed concern that the additional cost of mandatory liability insurance will 'force small facilities to close their doors and subsequently leave seniors with reduced care options'.
As sponsor of AB 1523, CARR conducted substantial research on the implications of mandatory liability insurance; chief among them, the issue of affordability. The overall results of our research are depicted in Table I below and showed that the average monthly cost to a small, 6-bed facility would amount to approximately $50 per month per resident. A reasonable amount by any standard.