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AB-1855 Residential care facilities for the elderly: emergency and disaster plan.(2019-2020)

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Date Published: 01/07/2020 09:00 PM
AB1855:v99#DOCUMENT


CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2019–2020 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 1855


Introduced by Assembly Member Frazier

January 07, 2020


An act to add Section 1569.694 to the Health and Safety Code, relating to residential care facilities for the elderly.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 1855, as introduced, Frazier. Residential care facilities for the elderly: emergency and disaster plan.
Existing law provides for the licensure and regulation of residential care facilities for the elderly by the State Department of Social Services, and makes a violation of these requirements a crime. Existing law requires a facility to have an emergency and disaster plan that includes prescribed information, such as evacuation procedures, and is available to specified individuals, including residents onsite upon their request and local emergency responders.
This bill would require, by July 1, 2022, the department, the Office of Emergency Services, and the Department of Technology, in partnership with the private sector, to develop and implement a secure online emergency management database with an emergency disaster technology tool to be maintained by the department and accessible by emergency response personnel, and would require licensed residential care facilities for the elderly to upload their emergency and disaster plans to the database by July 1, 2023. Because a willful violation of the bill’s requirements relative to residential care facilities for the elderly would be a crime, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.
This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: YES  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 (a) The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(1) Residential care facilities for the elderly are privately owned businesses providing community care to people over 60 years of age who are unable to live independently. Currently, there are approximately 7,800 residential care facilities for the elderly in California.
(2) Residents of residential care facilities for the elderly often have dementia, multiple chronic illnesses, mental illness, or disabilities or are receiving hospice services. They are often unable to walk or move without assistance. As a result, the residents are at greater risk of being unable to escape or protect themselves during an emergency or natural disaster.
(3) Residential care facilities for the elderly may not have adequate numbers of staff to evacuate residents during an emergency, especially during the night. Consequently, if there is an emergency, residential care facilities for the elderly are likely to rely heavily on emergency response personnel who may not be familiar with the facility or the specific needs of residents.
(4) Residential care facilities for the elderly are required to maintain an emergency and disaster plan at the facility site. However, emergency response personnel may not have immediate access to this critical information, whether because the responders do not know where to locate the plan, or because the plan has been destroyed or misplaced during the emergency, or because the plan has not been updated with current resident data. Consequently, maintaining an emergency and disaster plan in writing at the facility is not sufficient to provide emergency response personnel immediate access to critical information about the facility and its residents.
(5) Some residential care facilities for the elderly fail to update their emergency and disaster plan in a timely manner. For example, in the County of Napa, less than two years after disastrous wildfires struck the region, eight residential care facilities for the elderly did not have an updated plan available during an unannounced visit from the State Department of Social Services. The department has limited financial resources and personnel to complete annual visits to each facility in the state to ensure that the facility has an updated emergency and disaster plan.
(6) Residential care facilities for the elderly staff and residents, emergency response personnel, and the department would all benefit from the development of an online, cloud-based emergency response system that allows first responders to access an emergency and disaster plan immediately upon receiving a call for emergency services.
(7) Requiring residential care facilities for the elderly to upload their emergency and disaster plan to the online system would protect the safety and lives of residents by ensuring that the residential care facilities for the elderly report updated plans to the department and allowing emergency response personnel to gain immediate access to the plans in the event of an emergency.
(8) The online system would enable to the department to verify the emergency and disaster plans of residential care facilities for the elderly electronically rather than in person, thereby conserving departmental resources.
(9) Technology for an online, cloud-based emergency response system is already developed and available in the private sector.
(b) It is the intent of the Legislature, in enacting this bill, to require the department, the Office of Emergency Services, and the Department of Technology, in partnership with the private sector, to develop and implement a secure online emergency management database with an emergency disaster technology tool to be maintained by the department and accessible by emergency response personnel.

SEC. 2.

 Section 1569.694 is added to the Health and Safety Code, immediately following Section 1569.69, to read:

1569.694.
 (a) By July 1, 2022, the department, the Office of Emergency Services, and the Department of Technology, in partnership with the private sector, shall develop and implement a secure online emergency management database with an emergency disaster technology tool to be maintained by the department and accessible by emergency response personnel. The online emergency management database shall include information specified in the emergency and disaster plan, as described in subdivision (a) of Section 1569.695, relating to residential care facilities for the elderly.
(b) The department shall require licensed residential care facilities for the elderly to maintain their emergency and disaster plan in an electronic form, and to upload their emergency and disaster plan to the online emergency management database by July 1, 2023.

SEC. 3.

 No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because the only costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school district will be incurred because this act creates a new crime or infraction, eliminates a crime or infraction, or changes the penalty for a crime or infraction, within the meaning of Section 17556 of the Government Code, or changes the definition of a crime within the meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution.