Washington state legislators unanimously voted for a new bill to crack down on standards at continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs), also called life plan communities, both before and after seniors move in.
The measure is one of the first in the country to require CCRCs to standardize the community-resident relationship, including providing transparency and disclosure statements to prospective buyers upfront on what the fees are involved for entry, maintenance and different levels of care, and to mandate a bill of rights for residents.
As an addition to the state’s required licensing for nursing/assisted living care, the bill would require CCRCs to be registered by the state Department of Social and Health Services in order to operate or even solicit entry fees. The departmental registration requires information on how the community is financed, details on each care component and proof of policies and procedures, including how an applicant can appeal an admission denial.
“Moving into a retirement community is one of the most important decisions that seniors make as we age,” Rep. Brady Walkinshaw (D-Seattle), the sponsor of the bill, told the Seattle Medium.
The bill, modeled after Connecticut legislation passed in 2015, requires an extensive consumer disclosure statement containing, among other details:
- The governing officers of the community and type of ownership
- Other properties controlled by the same owner
- How the community is financed, including the names of those holding more than 10 percent interest in the property
- Opening date and annual occupancy rates
- Complete descriptions of care services
- Policies on wait-lists and unit availability
- Policies on fee changes while moving through care levels
The bill needs the Governor’s approval before becoming law.