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Rep. Stone Announces Agreement with Assisted Living Industry on Financial Protections

NC Rep. Scott Stone (R-Mecklenburg) announced today an agreement with the assisted living industry regarding financial protections for seniors residing in Adult Care Homes. Earlier this month, Stone filed HB 1071 Assisted Seniors Financial Protection Act, to address escalating resident charges and unwanted discharges from facilities.

Assisted Living presser Photo

The NC Assisted Living Association and other industry trade groups have agreed that not all facilities are following the “spirit of the law” regarding the amount charged to residents. Industry leaders have committed to work with legislators and the Department of Health and Human Services during the next few months to address issues identified in HB 1071. In exchange for this commitment from the industry, Stone and the other bill sponsors have agreed to keep the legislation from moving forward in the remaining days of the General Assembly’s Short Session.

“Our seniors are among the most vulnerable members of our communities,” said Rep. Stone. “It is incredibly important to ensure they are protected. These protections must be not only health related, but also financial. As our senior population grows these issues will continue to grow in importance.”

Rep. Stone has been fighting on behalf of seniors and their families to ensure that they are protected financially from run-away costs at assisted living facilities. While Mecklenburg DSS and the Ombudsmen, who advocate for seniors, do the best they can when residents file complaints about these issues, there are limits to their authority. The current rules adopted by the Medical Care Commission are being interpreted differently by different facilities. The fact that the industry has agreed to work with its member facilities to ensure the spirit of the law is followed is a victory for our seniors.

“Today we take a great step forward in ensuring our seniors are protected financially. This is the first step in what will likely be a long, ongoing process.”

This issue has received significant press attention during the past few weeks, including this Charlotte Observer article – READ HERE.

“Seniors can rest assured that we are looking out for them and will ensure they are protected.”

Assisted Living presser Photo 2

Rep. Stone Protecting Assisted Living Seniors

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State lawmaker pushing to protect seniors in assisted living facilities from major price hikes

By: John Paul  WSOC-TV

WATCH STORY HERE

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – A state legislator told Channel 9 Tuesday there are loopholes in North Carolina that let assisted living facilities take advantage of seniors by hiking prices or even kicking them out.

Laura Gaska knows all too well how much power assisted living facilities have. Her mom, Carol Ann, is in her 80s and lives at a private-payer facility in south Charlotte.

Recently, Gaska learned her mother has to pay more if she wants to stay.

“It disturbs me and it disturbs my mom,” Gaska said. “She went up $1,100 per month on top of everything else, so she’s at $8,100.”

Gaska showed Channel 9 the contract that says the price could go up if her mom needed extra care.

But the price hike was a surprise because her care hadn’t changed, so she hired a lawyer.

“They were eventually able to come back and say it was due to level of effort,” Gaska said.

The center said the hike was because the staff was working harder to care for her mom.

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State Rep. Scott Stone said the contracts are too subjective.

He said he has heard a number of complaints from people in the same situation.

“They are taking advantage of the most vulnerable, both physically and financially,” Stone said. “We’ve all got to agree that the actual care you’re giving is what I’m paying for and what I’m getting.”

Stone is working on legislation that would do just that and make it harder to discharge a senior.

Currently, facilities only have to give them 30 days before sending them somewhere else.

“They’re fearful of complaining; objecting to some of the things or questioning the costs because they don’t want to be discharged,” Stone said.

The proposed bill is in the works. If it doesn’t make it for the short session next week, Stone said he will keep pushing.

The latest numbers showed that in 2016 there were nearly 4,000 complaints about assisted living facilities in North Carolina.

https://www.wsoctv.com/news/local/state-lawmaker-pushing-to-protect-seniors-in-assisted-living-facilities-from-major-price-hikes/746058883