29 States Are Changing Assisted Living Regulations
Last year, the National Center for Assisted Living reported in its yearly “Assisted Living State Regulatory Review” that the United States experienced an increase of policy, regulation and statute changes related to assisted living facilities and communities as compared to previous years. Although the number of states decreased from 2016 to 2017 from 23 the previous year to 17, a study of regulation changes by state from June 2017 to June 2018 revealed that 29 states were involved in the process of changing existing rules related to assisted living.
Reasons for These Changes
NCAL Executive Director Scott Tittle credited the growing role of assisted living as a long-term care option as the primary reason for the increase in attention to this topic by lawmakers and others in different states. The legal changes covered a wide range of areas, including requirements related to abuse and mistreatment definitions, reporting and investigating incidents, emergency plans, Medicaid assisted living participation, expanded background checks, staff member general and specialized disease training and the rights of members of the LGBT+ community.
States That Have Already Moved Forward
The 29 states that made changes included California, Florida, Louisiana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon and Texas. In California, for example, the state passed a law that makes it illegal for assisted living facilities and communities to deny admission because of a person’s gender identity or expression. The law also prevents discrimination against patients who have HIV. In Florida, the focus was on regulations related to natural and man-made emergencies, especially power outages and emergency management plans. Other areas of interest included admission and discharge policies, resident agreements, life safety and facility licensure.
The Future of Assisted Living Regulations
The NCAL estimates that the public should expect even more states to change existing policies, regulations and statutes in the future to match the increased use of assisted living facilities and communities. People want to retain as much personal freedom as possible as they age. The current aging population includes a large number of people who are entering the retirement phase of their lives. This older population is primarily made up of people who desire assisted living options. As a result, popular demand guarantees that states will increasingly place a spotlight on assisted living every year going forward.
Who is NCAL?
The National Center for Assisted Living covers assisted living topics for the American Health Care Association that represents a combination of over 13,500 for-profit and non-profit care providers in a non-profit federation of state health organizations. The NCAL aids those involved with assisted living services in a variety of ways, including by supporting related quality initiatives, professional development, education and advocacy.