As of July 1, 2015, owners of Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly (RCFEs) in California were required to have liability insurance in the event of elder neglect and other related injuries. The new law, which went into effect just this past summer, began as AB 1523, a bill that was sponsored by the Consumer Advocates for RCFE Reform (CARR). In the minds of many elder justice advocates, mandatory liability insurance for RCFEs represents one step toward safer care options for seniors in California. If we take a closer look at the history of the bill and the implications of mandatory liability insurance in our state, we can better understand how this new law may have an effect on incidents of nursing home abuse.
Background to AB 1523 and the Requirement of RCFE Insurance
Over the last couple of years, numerous advocates have voiced concern about the state of the assisted-living industry in California. Many reports about elder abuse and neglect appeared in The San Diego Union-Tribune, emphasizing the need for reform measures throughout the state. One of those reforms includes the law requiring liability insurance for RCFEs. As CARR explains in a press release about the new law taking effect, the advocacy group conducted extensive research into the affordability of mandatory insurance. In short, CARR found that “the average monthly cost to a small, six-bed facility would amount to approximately $50 per month per resident.” According to CARR, $50 per month for each resident of an RCFE is “a reasonable amount by any standard.”