Higher fines proposed for unlicensed operators

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Nursing home officials in Alabama are praising proposed legislation that would crack down on owners of unlicensed nursing homes and other healthcare facilities.

Currently, those who operate illegal facilities face a maximum fine of $5,000 whenever they are caught. The proposed measure escalates the levy to $25,000 after the first offense.

Each year, more illegal facilities open, said Louis Cottrell Jr., executive director of the Alabama Nursing Home Association. Besides nursing homes, the measures would also apply to assisted living communities and other healthcare settings.