Bill That Would Have Mandated Skilled Nursing Facility Licensure Denials Dies in Assembly Health Committee

A LeadingAge California-sponsored bill expanding Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) passed out of the Assembly Appropriations Committee on April 13, and is now headed to the Assembly floor for a vote.

A bill introduced last year that would have mandated that the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) deny skilled nursing facility licensing applications died this week in the Assembly Health Committee.

AB 927, which was titled “The Nursing Home Transparency Act of 2016,” was authored by Assemblymember Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento). The author introduced the bill last February as a direct response to the Sacramento Bee’s three-part series entitled “Nursing Homes Unmasked,” which focused on consumer’s inability to obtain ownership and quality information of many California skilled nursing homes.

While the intent of the bill was focused on large, for-profit owners and operators, LeadingAge California had several concerns with the bill because of the impact it would have over the entire industry. Specifically, the bill would have:

• Restricted the department’s discretion and authority to approve licensing applications for skilled nursing facilities by mandating automatic denials of license applications if an individual named on the application had a violation that resulted in a specified enforcement action for seven years prior to the submission of a new application.

• Imposed overly-stringent compliance criteria as the basis for denial, including a single issuance of an “A” or “AA” citation or the issuance of an Immediate Jeopardy. 
• Required the posting of additional and very complex compliance and ownership information on the department’s website.

LeadingAge California worked closely with the author’s office and the Health Committee staff the past year to address many of our concerns. The author’s office was sympathetic to most our proposed amendments, but rather than moving forward with the bill, the author decided to drop the bill altogether.

LeadingAge California will be watching closely for a similar bill to be introduced in 2016, as the issue of nursing facility ownership is one that is not likely to go away.