California’s Nursing Home Law Reaffirms Requirement of Proper Staffing Ratios in Nursing Care Facilities

Recent Legislation Will Help Ensure Better Quality Care for Patients and Law Offices of Osofsky and Osofsky Gives Tips on How to Evaluate a Nursing Home

There are new changes in state law regarding California’s skilled nursing homes.

Nursing homes will now face fines if they do not maintain state-mandated staffing requirements under the reauthorization of AB 1629 signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Oct. 19. The state will now have new tools to enforce the existing staffing requirement of 3.2 nursing hours per patient per day, required of all nursing homes licensed in California that receive Medi-Cal or Medicare payments.

These changes were established for accountability’s sake to ensure that all nursing homes meet state requirements. They were designed to reinforce the Long Term Care Reimbursement Act of 2004, which increased funding for nursing homes to help them meet these staffing requirements. Until now, the 2004 act had not fully met its goal of improving patient care.

The new law will also increase the number of auditors investigating the nursing homes. It will also establish fines for those who are non-compliant.

“The reason for this legislation was to provide better enforcement of the required staffing ratios in nursing homes, in order to improve the quality of patient care,” said Gene Osofsky of the Law Offices of Osofsky and Osofsky, which specializes in elder law, estate planning and trust administration.

Skilled nursing homes and care facilities will face penalties and fines if they do not meet the staffing requirements as required by law. Although some nursing homes already staff at the state’s requirement, others will now be forced to comply through imposition of fines and penalties. “We hope that the new law will provide better enforcement of the required staffing and improve the quality of care for patients,” Osofsky said.

Gene Osofsky also gives tips on how to choose and evaluate a proper nursing care facility. Gene Osofsky is a lawyer who also deals with nursing care issues.

“What’s more important than a nice looking facility is the quality of care. One must look at how the residents in the nursing home are being attended to and how well they are being treated and respected. Try to visit a facility at a time that hasn’t been prearranged in order to get an unrehearsed version of how the place operates,” Osofsky said.

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