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Key Takeaways from Senator Mendoza’s Bill to Protect California Seniors

By Mary-Frances Walsh, 8:00 am on

After a senior loved one’s unexpected injury or hospital stay, families often rely on elder care referral agencies to help determine the best options for recovery and rehabilitative care. Unfortunately, some of these agencies are engaging in unscrupulous business practices and taking advantage of seniors and their families during this difficult time. In the state of California, Senator Tony Mendoza is stepping up to the podium and has recently introduced the SB 648 bill to protect the health, wellbeing and quality of life of our aging population.

Senator Mendoza brings to light the financial deception of a number of California referral agencies. These referral agencies have been offering placement services to seniors and families pro bono. While this seems like a valuable service, the agencies have partnered with specific facilities and receive a financial kickback upon placement of a senior or family. As a result, some seniors aren’t being placed in the best care facilities for their needs. The bill is requesting full disclosure of all fees or commissions gained from the placement of seniors.

As a senior care provider in Sonoma County, CA, we support Senator Mendoza’s mission to protect our aging loved ones, and agree that seniors should have freedom of choice – the right to choose the type of long-term care that will best meets individual needs and provide the highest chance for a positive outcome. In addition to requiring referral agencies to disclose financial interests with any care facilities, the SB 648 bill will:

  1. Share facility inspection reports. The bill requires referral agencies to submit an inspection report stating how often the facility has been inspected to ensure current quality standards. Seniors and their families must also be provided with some type of notification as to where they can file or review any complaints.
  2. Protect the medical privacy of the senior. All medical and personal information concerning the client must be kept confidential and not shared with anyone. In addition, the agency cannot act as the power of attorney or property for any of its clientele without consent.
  3. Have liability insurance. Referral agencies are unfortunately under regulated in California. The bill will require that all placement agencies have liability insurance, so that seniors are not referred to facilities that have previously lost a license to operate in the state.
  4. Conduct follow-up visits. Because agencies have referred patients to facilities with histories of poor care and neglect, the bill will require the referral agency to visit each individual within one month from the date he or she was placed. This will help to ensure the comfort, safety and proper treatment of the senior.

At Home Care Assistance of Sonoma County, we understand that the decision to find long-term care for an aging loved one quickly creates an environment that makes families more susceptible to pressure and misinformation. With Senator Mendoza’s bill, we hope that seniors and families receive the full disclosure needed to make a smart and confident decision.

If you have an aging parent or loved one who requires long-term care, consider our Sonoma County live-in care agency. Our experienced Care Managers are available to answer questions and provide support during this difficult time. You can rely on our experience and reputation for quality caregivers and rest assured knowing your loved one is receiving high-quality care in the comfort of home. Schedule your complimentary, no-obligation consultation by calling 707-843-4368.