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New Assisted Living Regulations Do Little to Protect Consumers
Date:8/11/2008

Alliance asks the public to make their voices heard on fundamental rights

PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- Proposed rules to cover assisted living facilities fall far short of what is needed to ensure that Pennsylvania's elderly and those with disabilities receive adequate care in safe surroundings, according to the Pennsylvania Assisted Living Consumer Alliance (PALCA).

Fundamental consumer protections are missing from the proposed regulations. As proposed, a consumer would have to move in, sign a contract for residency and services, and begin payment to the facility weeks before the facility would be required to identify the consumer's care needs and explain to the consumer and her family how they proposed to meet those needs or even how much it would cost. As proposed, direct care staff would not have to complete a minimum amount of training hours and not all direct care staff would need any training in first aid or CPR. As proposed, facilities that exist as of the day the regulations take effect would not have to meet the best available standards or practices for fire safety or even wheelchair accessibility.

"The Department has made some moves in the right direction. And, for these, we are thankful," said Alissa Halperin, Senior Attorney and Deputy Director of Policy Advocacy at the Pennsylvania Health Law Project, the organization leading the efforts of PALCA. "But, the measures are baby steps when what we need are significant strides so consumers can feel confident that they or their loved one will be well cared for by adequate amounts of appropriately trained staff in safe and accessible facilities. These regulations just do not do cover all the critical bases."

The Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare released the proposed regulations on Saturday, August 9.

The public has until September 8 to comment on them before the agency's final review. People can send their written comments about the proposed assisted li
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SOURCE Pennsylvania Assisted Living Consumer Alliance
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