– Legislation sponsored by Rep. George Dunbar (R-Westmoreland) to allow independent seniors to remain in their home, a continuing care retirement community (CCRC) or an affordable housing community without fear of unnecessary and intrusive inspection by a state agency (House Bill 2291
) was unanimously approved by the Pennsylvania House on Tuesday.
“One of the major amenities or advantages of living in a CCRC is the oversight, assistance and wellness checks conducted by dedicated staff members and other residents,” said Dunbar. “There should be no reason to ever fear an unannounced inspection by a state agency, unless there is strong reason to suspect abuse or serious neglect. The primary purpose of this legislation is to establish a clear process to allow seniors to live freely in these monitored facilities that are both comfortable and inclusive of daily activities, while at the same time preserving their health and welfare.”
The Independent Senior Living Facility Privacy Act originated due to a CCRC located in Westmoreland County that was inspected, audited, wrongly cited and fined for allowing seniors to “age in place,” according to their own wishes. After gaining access to the private apartments on campus, the state agency proceeded to interview residents and immediately deemed them unfit to live alone due to their “need” for assistance with minor activities such as having groceries delivered, a daughter helping with personal finances, and a spouse assisting with daily medications.
These residents, who were all instructed to move into another wing of the facility at a significantly higher cost, were not advised that their informal answers could be used against them to impact their living situation or that they could decline to participate in the audit. Fortunately, after months of talks, this CCRC had its citation overturned.
CCRCs are privately-owned campuses which offer seniors a full range of safe living options and supervised care in a variety of settings that meet their needs as they age, including home care, private cottages or apartments, personal care homes, assisted living residences and skilled nursing facilities.
Pennsylvania has among the highest number of seniors over the age of 85. According to LeadingAge PA, the not-for-profit voice of senior care in Pennsylvania, “this commonsense legislation supports what we all want—the ability to make our own decisions about where we live and how we receive care.”
House Bill 2291 now advances to the state Senate for consideration. For the latest legislative updates, visit RepDunbar.com
Representative George Dunbar
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Ty McCauslin