Explanation of California Assembly Bill 1502
Unsuitable ownership and operation of nursing homes in California have been a growing and troubling trend in recent years. Nursing home owners and chains faced little scrutiny and accountability due to existing laws that regulate the licensing and ownership of facilities.
This puts nursing home residents at greater risk of poor care and elder abuse. Fortunately, new legislation introduced in California’s state legislature hopes to reform existing laws and make nursing homes safer for your loved ones.
What is California AB 1502?
California Assembly Bill (AB) 1502, also known as the Skilled Nursing Facility Ownership and Management Reform Act of 2021, changes existing laws that regulate the licensing, ownership, and management of nursing homes.
This bill was first introduced to the state legislature by California Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi in February 2021. It was referred to the health committee the following month, where it has remained since.
Before this bill, state law required California’s Department of Public Health to license and regulate nursing homes and prohibited any person, firm, or corporation from operating a nursing home without a license. But the licensing guidelines did not go far enough to protect the safety and rights of nursing home patients.
The existing law allowed nursing home chain operators to bypass this process and operate new facilities they acquired without getting licensed. This action, known as squatting, has been outlawed in this bill.
What California AB 1502 Changes
Reforms in CA AB 1502 create more detailed nursing home licensing procedures. The new bill ends the practice of issuing temporary licenses to individuals, entities, and corporations. Before this reform, new owners could operate nursing homes using the previous owner’s license while waiting for their operating license approval, but this bill now prohibits this action.
California AB 1502 also establishes suitability standards for any person, entity, or corporation seeking to operate nursing homes. Not only does this bill require all applicants to apply for a license before they can operate a nursing home facility, but they must also follow strict application guidelines. Any violation of the new provisions will result in a civil penalty of up to $10,000.
New Application Guidelines
Applicants must provide the public health department with the Medicaid and Medicare cost reports for all nursing home facilities they own or operate from the past five years, even if those facilities are out of state. If the nursing home operating applicant is part of a chain, they must provide materials that indicate the relationship between the applicant and the chain.
This bill requires the state department of health to upload documentation from applications online as public records. This allows for public comments and scrutiny the applicants would have previously avoided. AB 1502 also allows the department to deny a license if the applicant, individuals, or entities associated with the applicant have been convicted of a felony.
In the past, some applicants acquired, owned, or operated a nursing facility before their application was processed, an action known as squatting. AB 1502 outlaws the act of squatting, making the act a misdemeanor crime and suspending Medi-Cal payments to the facility. The bill will also suspend admissions into the facility and conduct daily visits to monitor residents if instances of squatting occur.
Who Benefits From CA AB 1502?
Nursing home residents and their families benefit the most from this bill. California AB 1502 makes it harder for unsuitable individuals and entities to own and operate nursing home facilities. This bill holds nursing home owners and those applying for nursing home licenses more accountable for their actions.
The bill aims to cut down on the mismanagement and poor care residents in nursing homes and assisted living facilities experience.
How Berberian Ain Can Help
If your loved one has been neglected or abused due to unsuitable ownership or management of a nursing facility, you need legal assistance. Consider hiring experienced elder abuse attorneys at Berberian Ain. Our dedicated team of lawyers work side-by-side with you and guide you through the legal process with compassion. We’ll work hard to achieve the best possible outcome for your family. Contact us today for a consultation.