Thursday, July 31, 2008

PA "Assisted Living Residence" Regs Proposed

Proposed Assisted Living Residence Regulations for Pennsylvania have been submitted to the PA Bulletin for publication on August 9, 2008, according to a representative of the Pennsylvania Assisted Living Consumer Alliance.

The regulations were already submitted to the
Pennsylvania Independent Regulatory Review Committee consistent with the regulatory review process in Pennsylvania.

Thus, although not yet published, the form of the proposed regulations regarding "Assisted Living Residences", along with ten pages of analysis required for the submission for review, can be viewed online or saved as a document here (PDF, 116 pages).

PALCA notes that "[i]nterested persons need not wait until publication in the PA Bulletin as the regs can be immediately downloaded for review from the IRRC website at this link."

Public comments on the proposed regulations will be due one month after publication, that is, by September 8, 2008.

According to the submission to the
PA IRRC by the PA Department of Public Welfare, "the proposed Assisted Living Residence regulation establishes the minimum standards for building, equipment, operation, care, program and services, training, staffing and for the issuance of licenses for assisted living residences operated in Pennsylvania." The authority for issuance is the Public Welfare Code, Act of June 13, 1967, P.L. 31 No. 21 (62 P.S. §§211, 213 and 1001-1087).

notes that "In enacting Act 56, the General Assembly found that it is in the best interests of all Pennsylvanians that a system of licensure and regulation be established for assisted living residences in order to ensure accountability and a balance of availability between institutional and home-based and community-based long-term care for adults who need such care."

In explaining "the compelling public interest that justifies the regulation,"
PA DPW states:

Currently, there is no regulation of assisted living residences in Pennsylvania.

However, assisted living residences are a significant long-term care alternative which combines housing and supportive services. They are designed to allow people to age in place, maintain their independence and exercise decisionmaking and personal choice.

This regulation establishes the minimum standards for licensure of assisted living residences to allow individuals to age in place.

The regulation protects consumers' health and safety, privacy and autonomy while at the same time balancing providers' concerns related to liability and individual choice.
The proposed regulations were developed with input from at least thirty-five "stakeholders", noted the submission:
The Department developed the proposed regulations in consultation with the Assisted Living Residence Regulation Workgroup that was comprised of industry stakeholders, consumers and other interested parties.

The Department held meetings with the workgroup on October 17, 2007, November 6, 2007, November 27, 2007, December 11, 2007, January 8, 2008, January 29, 2008, February 11, 2008, February 26, 2008 and April 1, 2008.

Over thirty-five stakeholders were invited to participate in the workgroup, which included disability advocates, advocates for older adults, consumers, union representatives, an elder law attorney, public housing agencies, trade associations for profit and nonprofit long-term care nursing facilities and many other interested parties.

Over the course of the meetings the Department provided the workgroup with several draft versions of the proposed regulations and solicited their comments and recommendations.

The proposed regulation was also discussed at the Long-Term Care Subcommittee of the Medical Assistance Advisory Committee (MAAC) on June 13, 2007, August 8, 2007 and April 9, 2008.

The Assisted Living Residence proposed regulation were also discussed at the Medical Assistance Advisory Committee (MAAC) on June 28, 2007 and at the Consumer Subcommittee of the MAAC on March 23, 2007.

The Assisted Living Residence regulation was also discussed at the Stakeholder Planning Team on April 9, 2007.
Nevertheless, PALCA intends for its member agencies to submit comments consistent with its mission to protect residents of assisted living facilities, and promises that such comments will be available on its website. For background about PALCA, See: PA EE&F Law posting New PALCA for Assisted Living Standards (07/22/08).

Many present facilities would be affected by new regulations; and many more new facilities would consult such regulations in their start up.

It is anticipated that 100 assisted living residences will be licensed in FY 2009-2010; 150 assisted living residences in FY 2010-2011; 200 assisted living residences in FY 2011-2012; and 250 assisted living residences in FY 2012-2013.
Other persons or organizations involved in this growing aspect of the long-term care industry, and affected by the proposed regulations, can submit comments until the deadline, September 8, 2008.