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'Atria Bills' Get Support From Assisted Living Residents, Family Members, Senior Groups
Date:3/3/2008

Activists Rally Behind California Assembly Bills Protecting State's Elderly from Price Gouging, Ensure Safety in Emergencies

SACRAMENTO, Calif., March 3 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- California seniors who feel price-gouged by providers like Atria Senior Living have teamed up with advocates and elected leaders to fight back against exorbitant cost increases, and to address serious problems with emergency preparedness. Legislation introduced by Assembly Majority Leader Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles) got strong support from Atria residents and family that travelled far and wide to the state Capitol today.

Atria is one of the largest assisted living providers in California, with 28 facilities, and is owned by a private equity buyout fund affiliated with Lazard, a Wall Street firm managing more than $140 billion globally.

Majority Leader Bass has introduced AB 2370 which requires all assisted living facilities -- or residential care facilities for the elderly (RCFEs) -- to disclose and post the last three years' worth of rent increases to better help seniors and their family make an informed decision.

"This legislation will move a step closer in developing a consistent standard of operation to eliminate questionable increases that have been reported at the range of 8 to 12 percent at some long term care facilities. This is an alarming practice when we know that the national average is 4 to 5 percent. We cannot allow these facilities to take advantage of this vulnerable community. It's imperative that we have safe, quality long-term care facilities in our state," said Majority Leader Bass.

Assemblymember Lois Wolk (D-Davis) has also introduced AB 2101 proposing similar rent increase disclosure rules, as well as providing procedures for residents to appeal those increases.

Dubbed "The Atria Bills" by activists, including SEIU Healthcare, both bills address growing resident complaints about Atria Senior Living's practices. Recently, residents at Atria facilities in Davis, Carmichael and Walnut Creek have protested the exorbitant rent increases they've received. Several Atria residents in Davis and Carmichael also suffered blackouts this winter because state law does not require Atria and other assisted living facilities to have a back-up generator.

Average rent increases at assisted living facilities are 4 to 5% a year. However, Atria Senior Living residents have been hit with rate increases up to 11%. Many residents have seen massive increases for two or more years.

More: http://www.improveassistedliving.org.


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SOURCE SEIU Healthcare
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