SACRAMENTO —Today, Assemblymember Jim Wood (D-Healdsburg), introduced AB 275 that would provide additional protections to residents of skilled nursing facilities when those facilities have a change in license status or operation, such as closure. “Residents of skilled nursing facilities are among our most vulnerable citizens and they must be protected,” said Wood.
Last year, Rockport Healthcare Services, the owner of the only skilled nursing facilities in the Eureka area, announced that it was closing three of its five facilities. More than 100 residents were going to be displaced and moved far from their families. Despite an outpouring of support for the residents from the community, and many meetings with stakeholders, including the Department of Public Health, Partnership Health Plan, and Asm. Wood and Senator Mike McGuire, Rockport did not change its plans. “It’s very likely, however, that the community’s efforts, the media coverage and the many meetings held may have caused them to reconsider as they subsequently decided to close only one facility,” said Wood.
“During those many months,” said Wood, “residents and their families were on a roller coaster ride of anxiety. It became obvious to me that new protections would have to be put in place to prevent this trauma from happening to other residents in the future.”
This bill requires facilities to provide 90 days’ notice to residents and if resident’s concerns cannot be appropriately addressed, the Department of Public Health can add another 90 days. It requires a patient assessment by both a physician and mental health professional and gives the department the authority to require a patient transfer plan to assure that patients’ needs have been considered. And finally, another provision was included so that whenever two or more facilities propose to close on the same date, the facilities will be required to prepare a comprehensive community impact report.
“Although this was an issue that affected a rural community I represent, this situation could occur in more densely populated areas where beds are limited or similar ownership situations exist,” said Wood.
Since 2014, Assemblymember Jim Wood (D- Healdsburg) has represented the 2nd Assembly District, which includes all of Del Norte, Trinity, Humboldt and Mendocino counties, plus northern and coastal Sonoma County, including the northern half of Santa Rosa.