The PA Health Law Project has organized the PA Assisted Living Consumer Alliance (PALCA) comprised of consumers, caregivers, and advocates who want to ensure that the rights and needs of consumers are addressed in the assisted living regulations being developed in response to Act 56 of 2007. Click here for a press release. CARIE is pleased to be a member of the PALCA and fully supports its goals. Act 56 created a new assisted living license that will be distinguished from personal care homes in that residents with higher level of health care needs will be able to “age in place” or be served in assisted living rather than being transferred to a nursing facility. PALCA has recently launched a website that includes links to news articles and will post information regarding the proposed assisted living regulations.

The Department of Public Welfare (DPW) has submitted the proposed assisted living regulations to the Independent Regulatory Review Commission. Click here to review. The official proposed regulations are expected to be published in the Pennsylvania Bulletinon August 9, 2008 which will mark the beginning of the 30 day public comment period that will end on September 8, 2008.  DPW’s regulatory analysis form states: “Currently, there is no regulation of assisted living residences in Pennsylvania. However, assisted living residences are a significant long-term care alternative which combines housing and supportive services. They are designed to allow people to age in place, maintain their independence and exercise decision making and personal choice. This regulation establishes the minimum standards for licensure of assisted living residences to allow individuals to age in place. The regulation protects consumers’ health and safety, privacy and autonomy while at the same time balancing providers’ concerns related to liability and individual choice.” DPW also estimates that 100 assisted living residences will be licensed in FY 2009-2010; 150 assisted living residences in FY 2010-2011; 200 assisted living residences in FY 2011-2012; and 250 assisted living residences in FY 2012-2013.

A preliminary review of the proposed regulations raises concerns that the needs and rights of residents may not be fully addressed. The PALCA is collecting personal stories, both positive and negative experiences with assisted living facilities as well as personal care homes in Pennsylvania. The stories can either reflect a personal experience or a professional observation. If you don’t have a story to tell, you can help by forwarding this link to those who may be able to help. The stories can be very brief or extensive; all will help in developing a response to the proposed regulations.

DPW has also begun to post personal care home inspection results online and later this year, plans to post its progress in inspecting the state’s 1,500 personal care homes. (Simply enter the name of the facility, the county, or zip code to find information about a particular facility.) The Legislative Budget and Finance Committee has posted a report, “State Efforts to Fund Assisted Living Services.”