News Around The Nation

Alabama

The Alabama House has turned back Gov. Don Siegelman’s attempt to further regulate assisted living facilities in the state. The house had at first voted down the legislation, but decided to reconsider after State Finance Director Henry Mabry talked to some opponents, including Rep. Thomas Jackson, reports the Associated Press. Health officials say that some of the assisted living facilities are unlicensed and blatantly mistreating elderly residents. Currently, owners of facilities who refuse to buy a license are subject to a $100 fine, the AP reports. The legislation would increase license fees from $5 per bed to $15 per bed and increase the fine for violations to $1,000. Repeat offenses could be prosecuted as a felony, with a maximum possible penalty of 10 years in prison. Some officials say the current rules and enforcement system do not work. Officials, including Siegelman, are looking to have the state Medicaid agency start paying some of the cost for elderly people who have dementia or Alzheimer’s disease to receive care at assisted living homes.

Sage Management (Montgomery) will start construction this month in Prattville on the first of 15 assisted living facilities it will build in Alabama, Florida, and Georgia. Sage will design, construct, own, and manage Covered Bridge Assisted Living Facility in Prattville, reports the Montgomery Advertiser. The 24-unit facility should be completed by late 2000, the company says.

Two assisted living associations in Alabama have joined forces to form one trade group that will lobby for members’ interests. The Birmingham Business Journal reports that the Alabama Association of Assisted Living Facilities and the Assisted Living Homes Association merged last month and are now known as the Assisted Living Association of Alabama (ALAA). About 230 of the estimated 300 facilities in the state are members, the Journal reports.


Alaska

Under a bill recently passed by the state legislature, Alaska will increase the amount it pays to assisted living facilities. The rate paid to the facilities has increased by only $2.60 since 1983, reports the Associated Press. The new bill will increase the rate from $34.50 per day to $50 per day, starting Sept. 1. On July 1, 2001, the rate will increase to $60 per day and to $70 per day on July 1, 2002, the AP reports. The bill covers facilities with 15 or fewer beds.


Arizona

The Woodmark Assisted Living and Memory Care Residence is under construction in Sun City. Robin Burr will serve as executive director of the new facility. She will be responsible for operations of the 102 assisted living apartments and the adjacent, 32-suite memory care center.


Florida

A partnership that is trying the build an assisted living facility in St. Petersburg has won a major victory, reports the St. Petersburg Times. The county’s planning and development review board has recommended that the county commission approve a change to the previously approved planned development overlay on the property. If the commission follows that advice, the developers would be clear to begin building soon.


Massachusetts

Neighbors of the former Carter Junior High School in Leominster have voiced their approval for plans to convert the former school into an assisted living center. Simsbury Associates (Braintree) has plans to transform the building over the next 18 months, reports the (Worcester) Telegram & Gazette. The cost of the project is estimated at $8 million. The facility will house 68 residents in 51 units, the company says.


Nevada

Officials at The Homestead, Boulder City’s only assisted living center, say more housing for the elderly is needed in the city because of the growing population of elderly residents. The Homestead provides 62 apartments – 45 assisted living and 17 Alzheimer’s care – reports the Las Vegas Review-Journal. All but three units are occupied, and 45 people are on a waiting list to get into the facility, according to the Review-Journal.


New Jersey

A panel of healthcare professionals in New Jersey that evaluated how the state regulates hospitals and long term care has endorsed a more lenient procedure by which assisted living applications get state approval. The Certificate of Need Study Commission recommended that the applications continue to get expedited review, reports the (Newark) Star-Ledger, which means that developers must show they have a safe track record, but do not have to prove there is a need for more assisted living beds. This is the latest sign of a shifting balance between assisted living and nursing homes, according to the Star-Ledger. The panel also recommended the state continue to study the impact of assisted living on nursing homes.


New York

The Pavilion Assisted Living Community (Catskill) has taken a $5.3 million loan from Legg Mason Real Estate Services’ Albany regional office to expand its dementia and Alzheimer’s care services. The facility, which has 100 beds, arranged the mortgage refinancing through Legg Mason’s local vice president. The Pavilion’s owner, Stephen Menkes, says he hopes to add 20 beds at the facility.

A rezoning request for an assisted living facility has been referred to the North Greenbush Planning Board for informal review. Master planners have agreed that the land for the proposed facility does not appear proper for the parcel, reports the (Albany) Times Union. The request also exceeds the density allowed for senior citizen zoning, the Times Union reports.

Prestwick Chase at Saratoga (Saratoga Springs) is now offering assisted living services. The new assisted living facility will be managed and operated by the Home of the Good Shepherd.


North Carolina

Kisco Retirement Communities expects to open its VerraSpring at Heritage Green (Greensboro) assisted living facility this summer. The company operates an independent living facility with 28 units of assisted living. Those assisted living residents will be moved to the new building, reports the Greensboro News & Record. The new building will allow Kisco to convert its entire main building to independent living.


South Dakota

The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe in Vermillion is planning to build a nursing home and other living quarters for elderly people on the reservation. The tribe says it will build the facility with or without help from the federal government, reports the Associated Press. The tribe will bond for the home’s expenses and operations while negotiations for its eventual support occur in Washington, a spokesman for the tribe tells the AP. When finished, the community will consist of housing and an apartment complex for the elderly, assisted living facilities, and the nursing home, the tribe says.