Monday, July 13, 2009

July 24th Deadline for Assisted Living Regs

The Pennsylvania Assisted Living Consumer Alliance (PALCA) recently updated its website to explain recent developments in proposed assisted living licensure requirements for Pennsylvania, and to announce a July 24, 2009 deadline established by the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare, Office of Long-Term Living (DPW) to receive additional comments on proposed regulations.

The Pennsylvania Assisted Living Consumer Alliance (PALCA) is a collaboration of consumers, family members, and local and statewide organizations that have united to advocate for safety, freedom of choice and high legal standards for residents in assisted living facilities in the state. * * *

PALCA is advocating for the establishment of standards that define and regulate assisted living facilities – in particular those relating to questions of residents’ rights, staff qualifications, training and resident ration requirements, physical site design, fire and safety codes, aging in place considerations, consumer choice, control, autonomy and an enforcement system.

Additionally, at present, there are no national standards or consistent definition or regulation for assisted living, nor any clear best practice standards. * * *
Thirty-two organizations are listed on PALCA's web page entitled "Participating Organizations", including the Pennsylvania Bar Association's Elder Law Section. Assisted living facilities presently are governed by existing regulations regarding "Personal Care Homes".

Proposed regulations under a new law (Act 56 of 2007) have been carefully reviewed by
PALCA, as explained on its web page entitled "Proposed Regulations."

I have noted
PALCA's interest and input previously on this Blog. See: PA EE&F Law Blog posting "New PALCA for Assisted Living Standards" (07/22/08). For background about Act 56 of 2007, and the environment of its enactment, see: PA EE&F Law Blog postings, "PA's Act No. 56 on Assisted Living Facilities" (07/26/07), and "PA's "Assisted Living Facility" Bill (likely, Law)" (07/16/07).

PALCA issued an "Urgent Regulations Update" on its web page and in email to constituent organizations, urging further input by those interested no later than the July 24, 2009 deadline established by the DPW. I quote from its web page:
On June 24, the Office of Long Term Living released the interim draft Assisted Living Regulations to stakeholders and interested persons. This draft is available here: Document-12700.pdf. This is just an interim draft and the state is accepting comments on last changes to make prior to publishing their final draft in the months ahead.

We have reviewed it along side the proposed regulations. There are many good changes. These are listed here: Click here to download the PDF document (Interim Regulations Good list)

However, there are still some major outstanding issues that need to be resolved so that consumers can be well-served in Pennsylvania’s assisted living facilities. These are listed here: Click here to download the PDF document (Interim Regulations Bad list)

Comments may be submitted to the Office of Long Term Living via e-mail at: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

or via mail at:

Office of Long Term Living
Bureau of Policy and Strategic Planning
P.O. Box 2675
Harrisburg, PA 17105
Attention: Bill White

Comments must be submitted by close of business on Friday July 24, 2009. Additionally, the state is asking for comments to be submitted in a Microsoft Word document and prefers to receive them by e-mail.

We strongly encourage folks to submit their support for the good things that have been done and their opinion that more needs to be done to make these regulations good enough for the people we love.

The Interim Regulations include several significant improvements over the proposed regulations. This considerably improves the regulatory package and we are very pleased with these additions.

Those interested in making comments might be advised, also, to read a report, dated March 27, 2009 (updated on DPW's website on July 9, 2009), entitled "Adult Residential Licensing: 2008 Annual Report: A Report on Licensed Personal Care Homes" (PDF, 24 pages).