Assemblymember Laura Friedman said her legislation will make residential care facilities for the elderly “safer homes for our loved ones.”

Oakmont Senior Living has requested a hearing in response to a notice that the California Department of Social Services plans to revoke the licenses of two of its senior living communities, where the state says some residents were abandoned during a wildfire last year, TV station KGO reports.

As McKnight’s Senior Living previously reported, the state released an administrative complaint Sept. 6 detailing the findings of its investigation into the actions of administrators and staff members at Villa Capri, an assisted living and memory care community, and the adjacent Varenna at Fountaingrove, an independent living and assisted living community, both in Santa Rosa, CA, during the Tubbs Fire in October 2017.

“Based on evidence gathered during the investigations and the statements of witnesses, the department has determined that Oakmont Senior Living failed to protect the health and safety of residents at Varenna and Villa Capri,” Michael Weston, the department’s deputy director of public affairs, said in a statement last week.

On the night of the fire, a substitute administrator was working at Villa Capri and was not familiar with the community’s evacuation plan, according to the state report. At Varenna, staff members weren’t trained in how to respond to fires or how to evacuate, the state said.

No resident at either community died in the fire, but more than 20 residents at Villa Capri would have died if they had not been evacuated by family members and public safety workers after staff members left with some residents, the state said.

Oakmont representatives did not respond to a request for comment Thursday but previously told McKnight’s Senior Livingthat the company “will continue to be transparent and responsive to resolve these unfounded allegations.”

Meanwhile, a bill signed into law Monday by California Gov. Jerry Brown (Democrat) repeals a provision in state law that exempted facilities offering continuing care contracts from having to have emergency response plans. Additionally, AB 3098 specifies that emergency and disaster response plans must include a list of contacts and at least two locations where residents can be housed during an evacuation. And facilities now will be required to train staff members on the plans upon hire and annually thereafter.

The new law, among other things, also requires facilities to review and update their plans annually and to conduct drills for various emergency situations at least once quarterly for each shift of workers.

The bill was supported by LeadingAge California and the California Assisted Living Association, the state partner of Argentum.

In a Tweet on Thursday, the bill’s author, state Assemblymember Laura Friedman (Democrat), thanked Brown for signing the legislation and for making residential care facilities for the elderly “safer homes for our loved ones.”

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