Georgia state capitol

Assisted living and personal care home operators in Georgia are facing regulatory reforms after the state legislature passed a bill imposing staffing, training and financial reporting requirements.

The coronavirus pandemic led Peach State lawmakers to pursue reforms, but industry representatives called for critical updates to House Bill 987, also known as the Disabled Adults and Elder Persons Protection Act of 2020 before it went into effect. The bill was signed by Gov. Brian Kemp on June 30, 2020, and was effective immediately.

The Georgia Department of Community Health announced its intent to revise regulations pertaining primarily to staff and memory care services. Written public comments are being accepted until July 16.

Senior living experts previously told McKnight’s Senior Living that although they were dedicated to working with the state to ensure safeguards for older adults, they had concerns related to significant additional staff training requirements in memory care units and the development of a new administrator licensure process.

The bill:

  • Increases fines for serious violations.
  • Imposes additional nursing service requirements in assisted living communities.
  • Requires certification and higher minimum staff levels for memory care units.
  • Implements financial stability requirements and resident notification requirements for bankruptcy or ownership changes.

The Georgia Department of Community Health is scheduled to vote on the proposed changes on Aug. 12. 

As part of an assisted living community’s licensure, operators now will have to provide a financial stability affidavit from a certified public accountant affirming the applicant’s ability to operate as a going concern for the next two years. Communities with memory care units also must be licensed to offer those services and provide training for staff members in infection control, emergency preparedness, emergency first aid, cardiopulmonary resuscitation and caring for residents with Alzheimer’s and other dementias. 

The new law also provides minimum staffing levels for communities based on state average monthly minimum calculations, as well as requirements for on-site nursing services.