someone signing documents
(Credit: LaylaBird / Getty Images)

A bill purporting to increase safety in assisted living residences takes aim at involuntary discharges and administrator education requirements. But senior living provider groups have concerns about the proposed legislation.

SB 22-154, “Increasing safety in assisted living residences,” was introduced last week in the Colorado legislature and would require an assisted living community to provide a 30-day written notice to a resident prior involuntarily discharging a resident. The bill also establishes a grievance process.

As McKnight’s Senior Living previously reported, Sen. Jessie Danielson (D-Wheat Ridge) said the bill will “hold assisted living facilities accountable” in instances when neglect or abuse are alleged. Although assisted living communities in Colorado are licensed, individual administrators and owners are not — something Danielson said she intends to address.

The bill also would require community administrators to meet educational, training and experience standards established by the state, beginning Jan. 1, 2024. 

In addition, the bill would remove the $2,000 annual cap on fines assessed to assisted living communities, allowing the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to determine fine amounts based on the size of the community, the number of residents affected by a violation and prior violations.

LeadingAge Colorado Director of Public Policy and Public Affairs Deborah Lively told McKnight’s Senior Living that the organization still is considering the potential effects of the bill and is seeking feedback from members. But after an initial review, she said, the group has concerns about the scope of authority given to CDPHE as the regulatory agency.

“It provides them with significant enforcement power, including no limits on what an assisted living residence can be fined for a violation(s),” Lively said. “ALRs and their residents and staff have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and we are worried that the overreaching enforcement as contemplated by this bill could further harm an industry already struggling to manage the significant challenges brought on by COVID-19.”

Colorado Health Care Association & Center for Assisted Living President and CEO Doug Farmer said his organization is working with Danielson “to see if we can help satisfy the sponsor’s needs without creating new law / regulations for providers.”