Straight Talk

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. 

Nowadays, most families start with the Internet using search engines to generate potential leads.  Typically, they are overwhelmed and find themselves inundated with choices, providers, articles and organizations.  And their hearts sink as they discover they have no easy, reliable way of distinguishing the increasingly common entrepreneur from the knowledgeable provider committed to seniors themselves. 

MEET OUR INTERNS: Matthew M. & Micah Wroten

While earning our degrees (2007), Chris and I (Chrisy) met in a long-term care policy class. Both of us were conducting research on the assisted living care option for our thesis project.  Ongoing, we shared our concerns about how little information was available on this long-term care option and individual facilities.  But, it was not until we began reviewing the state's public files that we truly understood the scope of the problem and became motivated to do something.

With this inspiration in mind, CARR developed an internship program.  For the last 3 years,  CARR has provided a unique internship experience that allows students to learn about assisted living through the lens of the public document.  Having worked and volunteered in facilities myself, this is truly a perspective that imparts more than a familiarity with resident needs and standard operations (though interns learn that too). Our interns come from various academic backgrounds (i.e. gerontology, social work, public health, criminal justice) but all are interested in making a difference in the world of senior care, and all leave more motivated than when they first came.

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.  

CARR Contributes to California Healthcare Foundation Think Tank

California Healthline recently asked CARR and other experts in the field "How should California regulate its growing RCFE industry?".  Provided here is CARR's submission.  You can read all of the submissions by visiting http://www.californiahealthline.org/think-tank/2014/how-should-california-regulate-growing-changing-assisted-living-industry.

The Need for Data-Driven Practices

The primary focus surrounding California’s RCFE industry is policy reform.  In CARR’s view, modification of regulatory language may do little to affect the performance of facilities without accompanying improvements to the oversight and enforcement practices of California’s Department of Social Services (DSS).  CARR’s five years spent reviewing the public documents strongly suggests a department significantly weakened by the absence of evidence-based practices. 

DSS does not make use of facility compliance data or LPA performance data to inform their policies or practices.  CARR’s analysis of this data suggests this is a major shortcoming that impacts departmental operations and jeopardizes safety within RCFEs.  The resultant patterns, frequencies and trends reveal current compliance and accountability issues have just as much to do with outdated regulations as does the organizational culture of DSS.  This raises questions about the Department’s effectiveness as a regulator. Samples include:

CARR's Public Comment at the Joint Human Services Committee Oversight Hearing

CARR's advocates Chrisy Selder and Chris Murphy trekked to Sacramento to attend the 11 February oversight hearings called by Joint Chairs of the Human Services Committee: Senator Yee and Assemblyman Stone.  The legislators heard from 13 hand-picked individuals across the spectrum of stakeholders. 

The genesis of these hearings was a direct result of two events:  the constellation of investigative reports ("Deadly Neglect") on assisted living in San Diego published by the UTSanDiego on 9 September 2013, and the October bungled closure of a Castro Valley RCFE where CCL closed the facility but did not provide for the care or relocation of the residents; 48 hours after being abandoned by the licensee and the regulators, 19 residents were found still living in the facility, unattended and in squalor.  

Following three and a half hours of testimony by the witnesses, the floor was opened for public comment. Due to shortness of time, each member of the public was limited to about 1 minute, but our comments below were prepared for a total of 4 minutes.  Nine organizations and/or individuals spoke, including CARR. CARR's full remarks are provided below:

"Hi, I am Christina Selder, co-founder of Consumer Advocates for RCFE Reform or CARR for short. CARR is a San Diego based 501(c)3 which advocates for consumer protections related to assisted living facilities. 

THANK YOUS & KUDOS to our Volunteers and Donors

HOW DO WE SAY THANKS?

WOW!   CARR receives help, encouragement and money from a wonderful group of volunteers and donors who have identified with CARR's mission and the work we do.   Individuals have stepped up to the plate offering us donations, time, great ideas, and new strategies for our continued work.  Thank you! Thank you!  Special Thanks to the members of our Board; without you we could not function. 

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Kudos!  Danke!  Merci! and in 100 other languages thank you for your support this year.  You helped us grow; you helped us reach more consumers shopping for assisted living.  You encouraged us to continue our work: