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Long Term Care Settings the Focus of New Law in Oregon

Published August 22, 2017 by Brady Cobin Law Group, PLLC

The State Department of Human Services says that the new law will provide a comprehensive approach to improving both safety and quality of care in long-term care settings.

With the passage of House Bill 3359, Oregon legislators are putting changes in place to improve the quality of life for individuals living in licensed long-term care settings, addressing issues including oversight and penalties.

According to KTVZ.com in Bend, OR, in “New Oregon law aims to improve long-term care,” special emphasis in the new law was given to the improvement of training for those who care for people with Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia.

With more than 1,000 Oregonians experiencing abuse in licensed long-term care settings every year, the bill was designed to address a variety of areas.

Oregon HB 3359 requires that administrators of residential care facilities, including assisted living and memory care, must be licensed by an independent board by July 2019. There will be regulations promulgated on the process for this new requirement. The bill also updates amounts and caps for civil monetary penalties for elder or adult abuse and harm within licensed long-term care settings. These caps were set in the 1970s. The legislation increases fines for incidents categorized as serious harm from a maximum of $500 up to $2,500. It also adds new penalties for facilities, specifically a penalty for “failure to report suspected abuse” and “failure to perform corrective action noted during a survey or inspection.”

Oregon HB 3359 also updates licensing fee amounts for residential care/assisted living facilities and nursing facilities and authorizes the department to impose an immediate suspension in residential care facilities, when there are critical health, safety, or welfare issues. Previously, there was a 10-day wait for a hearing.

The new law also requires the Oregon Department of Human Services to develop an enhanced oversight and supervision program for residential care facility oversight and requests the development of a technology-based, acuity-based staffing tool for use by providers and Oregon DHS. This tool would let providers determine staffing patterns based on current residents’ needs.

The bill establishes a variety of training and certification requirements for care staff in long-term care facilities and adds new safety requirements, licensing options and establishes new quality measurements.

Finally, the bill creates a Quality Measurement Council. This group will have representatives from the Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman, Alzheimer’s advocacy, elder rights advocate, academics with data/metrics expertise, members of the Oregon Patient Safety Commission, provider associations, and Oregon DHS.

Once the bill is signed by the Governor, the bill will go into effect.

A news release from the Department of Human Services notes that the main focus is to promote the safety of the aging and disabled residents of Oregon.

Reference: KTVZ.com (Bend OR) (July 17, 2017) “New Oregon law aims to improve long-term care.”

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