Straight Talk

Centralized CCL Complaint Hotline

Department of Social Services, Community Care Licensing Division (DSS/CCLD) launched its new centralized complaint hotline this past week. The hotline's objective is to streamline the complaint process for consumers, and to assure information about complaints is consistently collected across all complaint report types.  Once a complaint is filed through the central call office, it is reviewed by a field-seasoned CCL inspector; within a few hours after the complaint has been reported, it is directed to the appropriate regional field office for investigation.  Once in the regional office, the agency must initiate its investigation within the 10-day regulatory time frame. 

The 8-4-4 number is toll free, so there is now one less impediment to filing a complaint - you don't have to pay for the call.  If its easier to email a complaint, the CCLD's new poster gives you the address:  LetUsNo@dss.ca.gov.  CARR encourages all family members, visitors in assisted living facilities, and reminds all mandated reporters to immediately report any event or circumstance endangering the health and safety of residents of assisted living facilities.  As the poster says. . . If you SEE something, SAY something.  

JD and Volunteer Intern, Eugene Willis, Jr., Shares File Review Experience

CARR co-founders can tell you what a terrific experience our internship program offers; but, it is more illustrative to hear from our actual interns.  Eugene Willis, Jr. connected with us via Linkedin this past fall and volunteered to do file surveillance for CARR on RCFEs in Nevada County.  Read on to learn more about Eugene's goals and discoveries: 

Volunteer Internship Experience with CARR Fall 2014, Nevada County File Review

This letter is to share my recent experience reviewing Nevada County RCFE files on behalf of Consumer Advocates for RCFE Reform (CARR).   At the outset of this letter, I would like to thank Chris Murphy for the opportunity to join this outstanding organization and also the Department of Social Services, Community Care Licensing Division “DSS/CCLD” for their assistance in completing the file review.  The primary reasons I voluntarily participated in CARR’s internship program were to enhance my personal knowledge, as well as promote transparency and dissemination of material issues related to California’s RCFE industry.  RCFE residents are sometimes forgotten.  I completed law school specifically to give a voice to those who are forgotten.

The First Amendment Coalition Selects CARR as 2014 Free Speech & Open Government Awardee

C. Selder, Peter Scheer (ED, FAC), C. MurphyOut 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".

Use CARR's "Facility Snapshots"* To Narrow Your Facility Search

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). 

Governor Brown Signs 10 RCFE Bills

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.

September 8th - National Grandparents Day!

My grandparents and great grandparents were instrumental in my appreciation for all life has to offer...on an ongoing basis.  In many ways, CARR began when I was between four and seven.  My (great) grandparents were chicken and sugarcane farmers well into their 60s and 70s.  I was fascinated by how they consistently adapted to changes brought in from outside influences while still maintaining their perfected way of doing things.  And, when their physical bodies began to fail them, their desire to remain engaged and to continue to participate in all they loved (including me) made a big impression.

As a mother of three, I want my kiddos to grow up with the same mindset that age is nothing but a number and adaptation is the name of the game.  To that end, I researched extensively the representation of older adults and aging in children's literature and created a book for little minds to be able to understand and embrace the realities of aging.

I invite you to purchase one of these books for the children in your life in honor of Grandparents Day.  With so much media attention on "The Silver Tsunami" and in an era of photoshop and anti-aging products, the beauty of living a long life can be lost.  All proceeds benefit CARR's advocacy work.  Please contact us at rcfereformorg@gmail.com or (619) 795-2165.

Cheers to the older adult in all of us! 

Warmly,

Chrisy

 

Need A Crash Course in Assisted Living 101? Watch Our Webinar.

CARR was recently invited to share what we know about California's assisted living industry by the Caregiver Coalition.  The Caregiver Coalition of San Diego offers a series of webinars focused on topics relevant to those caring for an aging relative and professionals in the field of aging.

You can now access valuable information about assisted living in California and making an informed placement decision anywhere you can access the internet at a time convenient for you.

To access the webinar click here and search under Webinar Registration.  If after watching you would like more detailed information or would like to share this information with friends, CARR is happy to present to any size audience any of our presentations

7 More Counties Now on CARR's Website

CARR now proudly offers consumers a number of facilities online that are outside of the San Diego regional area.  Our commitment to you, the informed consumer, has made this possible.  For every facility profile you are able to conveniently review on your personal computer or mobile device, we have dedicated approximately 6-8 hours behind the scenes collecting and transforming the public documents into the user-friendly display you see.

Please share these new additions within your network for the benefit of consumers living in these areas.  And do not forget, we also offer online all CAL Vet assisted living facilities.  

A Safe Place for Mom and/or Dad

By now, we all know someone contending with the needs of an aging family member.  And while aging and dependency are not synonymous, there does come a point in time (be it brief or extended) where reliance on others will enter the picture.  Sound familiar:

“I am worried about my aging mother continuing to live alone.  Her memory-loss is becoming more apparent.  Her ability to drive herself to the store and appointments is diminishing.  Her overall health and functioning seem to be declining.   I feel she would be safer with more assistance and supervision.”

           “I do not know what to do about my aging father.  Since my mother passed, I worry about him being alone.  He can no longer keep up the house.  His medication regimen is quite complicated.  And his gait has changed, I worry he may fall as a result and I will not be there to help him.  I feel he would be more comfortable with some additional help and prompting.”

And so, the search for support is triggered. 

CARR Urges YES Vote on Prop 42

Access to the public record is vital to Consumer Advocates for RCFE Reform. Proposition 42 strengthens California's Public Record Act (CPRA), and will require all public entities to comply with the CPRA - compliance will no longer be discretionary. CARR is a firm and ardent supporter of public transparency law, and urges your YES vote on this important tool to keep government transparent. 

In fairness and for full disclosure of information, Ballotpedia offers pros and cons of the legislation.