AB 1502 Update

California AB 1502 Update

Despite the passage of California Assembly Bill 1502 in January of 2022, California Advocates For Nursing Home Reform (CANHR) is calling for its veto as of September this year.

On September 1, 2022, CANHR penned a veto request to Governor Gavin Newsom, asking that he reverse AB 1502. The letter details the many negative changes made by the Senate, which rendered the original bill’s protections for nursing home residents and their families ineffective.

The Original AB 1502

In its original form, submitted by Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi in 2021, the Skilled Nursing Facility Ownership and Management Reform Act of 2021 outlined changes to how nursing homes in California are regulated and licensed.

Due largely to staffing and management issues brought on by Covid-19, nursing home operators had been taking over facilities in the state without proper vetting and licensing. The bill’s objective was to prevent unqualified nursing home operators from taking over these facilities.

The original AB 1502 required nursing home operators to receive approval from the CA Department of Public Health before taking over a facility. It also created consequences for owners who started operating nursing homes before gaining state approval.

Adverse Changes Made By the Senate

According to CANHR, California’s Senate made several changes to AB 1502, rendering it ineffective in its original intent. The most pressing concerns include the following amendments by the Senate:

Reduced Standards for Suitability

The Senate parsed down the language in the bill that would have set high standards for nursing home operator suitability. For example, the bill’s original text asked for operators to have the abilities, education, and character to run a facility and comply with federal and state laws.

The amendments only require operators to meet vague responsibility and reputable standards while operating in the interim before receiving a license.

Reduced Enforcement Measures

CANHR’s veto letter states that Senate amendments to AB 1502 replace effective enforcement measures with meaningless consequences for non-compliance violations. The bill’s current form includes a $2,000 Class B penalty, the lowest penalty category in California.

Nursing home operators earn millions of dollars yearly from state-sponsored healthcare programs, making the $2,000 fine an inconsequential punishment for violating the law.

Limited Vetting Process

The Senate’s changes limit the vetting procedure for nursing homes, inviting wealthy nursing home corporations to manipulate the system in their favor. For example, the bill only requires the CDPH to vet applicants for approval.

CANHR believes that many nursing home operators will use shell companies to apply, meaning that owners and operators won’t be vetted based on their qualifications. Rather, they can gain approval with a shell company that doesn’t have a negative history and exploits the loophole created by these amendments.

Fight Nursing Home Abuse With Berberian Ain

To protect nursing home residents from mistreatment and abuse; it’s vital to take a stand against laws that allow unqualified operators to manage California’s nursing home facilities. The CANHR encourages concerned residents to submit a veto letter to Governor Newsom by September 15, 2022.

If your loved one experienced abuse at the hands of negligent nursing home staff, contact the nursing home abuse attorneys at Berberian Ain. We will help you and your family stand up for your rights as a nursing home resident and investigate your case.

Reach out today to schedule a free consultation to learn your legal options and hold abusive nursing home owners responsible for their actions.