Review legislation and you be the judge!

Follow the money trail. When it comes to business operations, tracing where funds are coming from and going to, will more often than not determine if something ‘fishy’ is going on.

That seems to be the backbone of one of many new bills recently signed by California Governor Gavin Newsom.

I will remind you again that Keeping it REAL Caregiving is NOT a political platform. However, many issues impacting how we, as caregivers, are able to find resources and support – OR – in some cases have to fight for respectable care for our elders… can be linked back to policy and oversight (or lack thereof).

Consider this update of Keeping it REAL Caregiving as the #ICYMI (In case you missed it) version, with a round-up of some of the activity taking place on the legislative front from the Golden State.

This is a brief overview of some of the bills recently signed into law.

To track legislation, read text of bills and see how your legislators voted on various issues, visit the California Legislative Information site.

Skilled Nursing Homes -Senate Bill 650

This bill will require nursing homes to submit annual financial reports for review. The goal? To offer more transparency for nursing home finances.

A portion of the bill reads, “…require an organization that operates, conducts, owns, manages, or maintains a skilled nursing facility or facilities to prepare and file with the office an annual consolidated financial report that includes data from all operating entities, license holders, and related parties in which the organization has an ownership or control interest of 5% or more and that provides any service, facility, or supply to the skilled nursing facility.”

Medi-Cal Cognitive Assessments – Senate Bill 48

This bill will expand coverage services for those receiving health care through the state’s Medi-Cal program. Remember, funding for Medi-Cal comes in part from the federal Medicaid program. This is NOT Medicare.

Courtesy: California Legislature

Here’s what this new bill, by by Senator Monique Limón (D- Santa Barbara) means:

“…this bill would expand the schedule of benefits to include an annual cognitive health assessment for Medi-Cal beneficiaries who are 65 years of age or older if they are otherwise ineligible for a similar assessment as part of an annual wellness visit under the Medicare Program.”

It is legislation the Alzheimer’s Association has strongly advocated for and supported.

We know from research that cognitive assessments can help health care providers improve the chances of diagnosing dementia cases early.

Long-Term Heath Facilities – Assembly Bill 323

This Assembly Bill has quite a bit of legislative jargon, but the intended goal, is to reclassify certain violations within a long-term care facility. It will increase the penalties and citation classifications for those deemed to have violated a patient’s rights – or – if those actions caused a person’s death.

One portion of this bill reads, “ …any violation of a patient’s rights as set forth in specified regulations that is determined by the department to cause, or under circumstances likely to cause, significant humiliation, indignity, anxiety, or other emotional trauma to a patient. The act requires the department to prove specific elements to enforce a citation for a class “AA” violation, including the element that death resulted from an occurrence of a nature that the regulation was designed to prevent.”

What next?

Courtesy: Getty Images/Lauren Mulligan

There are more than a dozen bills which now have the governor’s signature; many within the health care arena. You can check them out here.

Will our society be able to legislate away cases of neglect, abuse or fraud within the industry of caring for our elders?

This is a rhetorical and loaded question. My gut tells me that as long as there is money to be made due to people aging, there will be those who find ways to take advantage. What do you think?

Case in point, this development from the great team of journalists with Cal Matters.

Months of investigations into the oversight process for nursing homes have revealed some gaps in the system.

What does all of this mean for those of us who only want the BEST for our elders?

It means we MUST take the time to research and do our homework. Start thinking about all the ‘what if’s’ NOW – don’t wait until your elder or – YOU – reach a point of needing help.

My goal with KIRC is to find nuggets of information to share and help point you in the right direction. SUBSCRIBE to the KIRC newsletter to stay in the mix!

Visit the Keeping it REAL Caregiving website for more news & information, videos, interviews and podcasts about family caregiving, or if you are seeking a moderator or host for your in-person or virutal event.

I would love to hear from you – what topics or issues would be most helpful for you? Do you have a story idea KIRC should look into?

Join the discussion with your comments, ideas, suggestions and feedback!

Until next time~