Colorado Sen. Jessie Danielson hedshot
Colorado Sen. Jessie Danielson

Assisted living operators in Colorado may face increased fines and a requirement that all administrators be licensed if a state lawmaker has her way.

Sen. Jessie Danielson (D-Wheat Ridge) told CBS4 that she hopes to introduce a bill in next year’s legislative session that will “hold assisted living facilities accountable” following allegations of neglect and abuse. Although assisted living communities in Colorado are licensed, individual administrators and owners are not — something Danielson said she intends to address. 

The Colorado Assisted Living Association said in a statement it supports the need for quality care and efforts to improve delivery of services.

“CALA will be reaching out in hopes of collaborating with Senator Danielson in her efforts; we are anxious to look at ways to avoid further incidents and ensure quality resident care in Colorado assisted livings,” the statement read. 

In the last nine years, 27 out of the state’s 700 assisted living facilities have closed.

“CALA would like that number to be zero, but we believe those numbers demonstrate a high standard of care here in Colorado,” CALA President Nicole Schiavone, R.N., said in a statement. 

Danielson’s action is in response to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s suspension of Triangle Cross Ranch’s license to operate as an assisted living community in April. The state cited the community for “deliberate and willful violation” of public health, safety and welfare of its residents by not complying with public health orders to protect residents and staff from COVID-19, as well as allegations of abuse and neglect, not treating residents with dignity and respect, and not permitting the long-term care ombudsman access.

The state order alleged that the community and its administrators “pose a threat to the public health, safety and welfare” and required emergency action to close the community.

Along with licensing requirements, Danielson said she is seeking changes to the fine structure for violations. The maximum fine the state currently can impose for violations on assisted living communities is $2,000 per year, whereas nursing homes can be fined “tens of thousands of dollars” for violating federal regulations, according to the TV station.

Danielson told CBS4 that she plans to introduce a bill to provide the state with resources to strengthen enforcement efforts tied to current regulations.