Better medical care, improved nutrition and other factors have greatly lengthened our life spans over the last hundred years. Since the turn of the 20th century, life expectancy has increased from 47 to roughly 78 years. Unfortunately, one downside of living longer is an increasing need to care for the elderly as their physical and mental health declines.
Recently, I joined a bi-partisan group of legislators to announce the introduction of a package of bills designed to end abuses that have occurred in some of California’s assisted living facilities. Families should have confidence that once their loved ones are placed in a care facility they will be safe and secure.
Under present law, the maximum fine imposed for a death due to negligence is $150 dollars, far less than many minor traffic violations. Consequently, bills will be introduced to abolish the $150 fine and replace it with a $1,000 fine for minor offenses and a $15,000 fine for deaths or serious injuries. In addition, homes will be required to carry liability insurance and provide enhanced training for caregivers.
To increase transparency, I have introduced AB 1436, which requires residential care facility inspection reports, lists of deficiencies and plans of correction to be posted on the Department of Social Services website for public viewing.
It is my hope that passage of this bi-partisan legislative package will provide badly needed reforms that will enhance and safeguard the lives of some of our most vulnerable citizens.
By Calif. State Assemblymember Marie Waldron (R-75th District)