Additional Fines, On Top of Doubled Maximum Penalties, Part of New State Law

Government leaders are cracking down on long-term care providers in Arizona, expanding health officials’ authority to monitor and fine operators in nursing homes, as well as assisted living and memory care.

Legislation was signed into law on Monday, originally designed to establish minimum training standards for staff working with memory care residents, according to a report from the Arizona Daily Star. Now, the law also encompasses the entire long-term care industry and doubles the maximum penalty for a violation to $1,000.

Additional penalties on top of the $1,000 are allowed but are based on the scope and severity of the violation. A scope and severity index for assisted living will be similar to what’s currently in place for skilled nursing providers. And, owners can’t escape fines by transferring the license to a different legal entity under the new law.


Operators in the state can be shuttered if they fail to pay the fines – this is different from previous law, which allowed providers to keep their perpetual license if they paid an annual renewal fee, reports said.

Along with the minimum training standards, there are requirements for annual continuing education in the law. A long-term care study committee is bifurcated into two components, one for skilled nursing and assisted living, and one for behavioral health.

“There is a dire need for real repercussions,” Gov. Katie Hobbs told the Star. The law has been five years in the making, state representatives said. Coupled with the legislation was a directive to create a new class of licenses for assisted living facilities that want to provide memory care services.


The Arizona Health Care Association actively participated in stakeholder meetings to negotiate terms of the legislation since January, and remained neutral on the bill on record, association CEO David Voepel told Skilled Nursing News. The association hopes the increase in regulations will come with an increase in reimbursement.

“We felt our voice was heard as we worked towards providing solutions,” said Voepel. “We support the additional training requirements, as many high achieving providers are currently providing that level of additional training, or exceeding it. We also hope that verifying new employees on the APS registry adds a new level of protection from fraud and abuse.”

The association is deeply committed to identifying solutions to safeguard frail and vulnerable residents, he added.

“Many of our assisted living providers have been engaged from the inception of this bill, and report that they appreciate that we were able to prevent other new statutory requirements that were either unreasonable and administratively burdensome,” Voepel said. “We’re looking forward to participating on the study committee established by this bill and providing more solutions to long-term care issues in Arizona.”

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