More funding for assisted living watchdogs is needed, advocates say

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David Kyllo
David Kyllo

Increasing funding for watchdog organizations is the most effective way to protect assisted living residents, according to testimony given by operator groups at a Senate Special Committee on Aging hearing yesterday. 

The committee held a hearing to discuss the results of a Miami Herald investigation into reports of neglect and abuse in Florida assisted living facilities.

In testimony at the hearing, Assisted Living Federation of America's CEO Richard P. Grimes said that his organization supports strong enforcement of existing state laws and regulations for facilities, but stressed that economic factors play a role in abuse.

“Unfortunately, as states cut budgets, state regulatory agencies are increasingly compromised,” said Grimes. “Without the staff and resources for regulators to do their jobs, frail elderly seniors and other vulnerable populations are put at increasing risk.”

Committee chairman Sen. Herb Kohl (D-WI) called for more consistency in quality-of-care standards in ALFs.

“Despite the many differences, we need some level of consistency in the quality of service and safety standards that all providers should be expected to meet,” he said.

The National Center for Assisted Living also weighed in, describing the events, as detailed by the Miami Herald, as unacceptable.

“NCAL believes that any instance of abuse and neglect must be dealt with swiftly and sternly,” said NCAL executive director Dave Kyllo. “Protecting our seniors and individuals with disabilities is a priority that must be shared by government, providers, and consumers.”

To read more panel statements given at the hearing, click here.

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