New Long-Term Care Legislation Passes in Oregon

Long-term care is getting a facelift in the Beaver State.

Specifically, the Oregon state legislature recently passed House Bill 3359 (HB 3359), which is meant to improve the quality and safety of long-term care settings statewide.

The bill, for instance, mandates that all administrators of residential care facilities, including assisted living and memory care communities, receive licenses from an independent board prior to July 2019. Additionally, the bill introduces new penalties for facilities, including for  “Failure to perform corrective action noted during a survey or inspection” and “Failure to report suspected abuse.”

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More than 1,000 Oregonians experience abuse in licensed long-term care settings per year, according to MyCentralOregon.com.

HB 3359 also revises the amounts and caps for civil monetary fines for adult or elder harm and abuse within licensed long-term care facilities. For incidents deemed “serious harm,” the fines were raised to a maximum of $2,500, up from $500 — an amount originally settled upon in the 1970s.

Additionally, rather than waiting 10 days for a hearing, the new bill also enables the Oregon Department of Human Services to immediately impose a suspension in residential care facilities when a critical safety, welfare or health issue is identified.

Industry praise

The Oregon Health Care Association (OHCA) — a member of the American Health Care Association (AHCA), National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL) and Assisted Living Federation of America (ALFA), as well as a force that worked behind the scenes to help craft HB 3359 —expressed satisfaction at the passage of the new bill.

“OHCA and our members are pleased that the bill passed, and we expect it to further advance quality dementia care in Oregon, in addition to allowing consumers to make more informed decisions about care for themselves or loved ones,” Linda Kirschbaum, OHCA’s senior vice president of quality services, told Skilled Nursing News.

Avamere Family of Companies, Inc. also supports the new bill, company CEO John Morgan told SNN. Avamere, based in Wilsonville, Ore., offers the full continuum of senior care services, including skilled nursing, at several locations in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho.

“We’re very supportive of any of these types of measures that really look to add access and quality to the individuals that we serve,” Morgan said, noting that the legislation “helps families and loved ones feel more confident as they make decisions around providers.”

Oregon has been a leader in passing similar, senior care-oriented legislation, Morgan added.

Read the full text of HB 3359 here.

Written by Mary Kate Nelson

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