Regulation overhaul expected to continue for adult family homes

In the latest installment of its “Seniors for Sale” series, The Seattle Times summarized many of the changes that have occurred in how Washington State regulates adult family homes in the past year since it began it’s ongoing investigation of the system.

The Times series has found that the state has “excused abuse and neglect by owners even when it knew they had lied to investigators, provided falsified medical records or contributed to preventable deaths.” In September, the Times reported that since 2003, at least 236 suspicious deaths in adult homes were never investigated.

In the past year, the state has overhauled its regulatory process so that adult home owners must now post state violations publically, the state Department of Social and Health Services must post enforcement actions publically and state officials must now report cases of suspected abuse and neglect in King County to law enforcement.

During the current legislative session, the Department of Social and Health Services is expected to sponsor legislation to raise the initial license fees for adult homes from $100 to $1,000, to fund enforcement expenses and slow the fast moving industry.

However, Gov. Chris Gregoire’s proposed budget also recommends delaying the implementation of I-1029, a state initiative passed overwhelmingly in 2008 that requires long-term-care workers to complete 75 hours of training, as opposed to the 34 to 48 hours most are required to receive currently.

In January 2010, a statewide study group released a report detailing abuse and neglect in the state’s adult family home system. That report can be read here.