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AB-849 Skilled nursing facilities: intermediate care facilities: liability.(2021-2022)



Current Version: 10/04/21 - Chaptered Compare Versions information image


AB849:v95#DOCUMENT

Assembly Bill No. 849
CHAPTER 471

An act to amend Section 1430 of the Health and Safety Code, relating to health facilities.

[ Approved by Governor  October 04, 2021. Filed with Secretary of State  October 04, 2021. ]

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 849, Reyes. Skilled nursing facilities: intermediate care facilities: liability.
Existing law authorizes a current or former resident or patient of a skilled nursing facility or intermediate care facility, as defined, to bring a civil action against the licensee of a facility who violates any of specified rights of the resident or patient or any other right provided for by federal or state law or regulation. Existing law makes the licensee liable for up to $500. Existing case law interpreting that provision held that the $500 limit on civil damages applies to each action and not to each violation.
This bill would also authorize the legal representative, personal representative, or successor in interest of a current or former resident or patient of a skilled nursing facility or intermediate care facility to bring that civil action. The bill, for violations that occur on or after March 1, 2021, would make the licensee liable for up to $500 per violation and would prescribe required factors to be considered in assessing the amount of the damages, including, among others, the nature and seriousness of each violation.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: NO   Local Program: NO  

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


SECTION 1.

 Section 1430 of the Health and Safety Code is amended to read:

1430.
 (a) Except when the state department has taken action and the violations have been corrected to its satisfaction, a licensee who commits a class “A” or “B” violation may be enjoined from permitting the violation to continue or may be sued for civil damages within a court of competent jurisdiction. An action for injunction or civil damages, or both, may be prosecuted by the Attorney General in the name of the people of the State of California upon the Attorney General’s own complaint or upon the complaint of a board, officer, person, corporation, or association, or by a person acting for the interests of itself, its members, or the general public. The amount of civil damages that may be recovered in an action brought pursuant to this section may not exceed the maximum amount of civil penalties that could be assessed on account of the violation or violations.
(b) (1) A current or former resident or patient, or the legal representative, personal representative, or successor in interest of a current or former resident or patient, of a skilled nursing facility, as defined in subdivision (c) of Section 1250, or intermediate care facility, as defined in subdivision (d) of Section 1250, may bring a civil action against the licensee of a facility who violates any rights of the resident or patient as set forth in Section 72527 or 73523 of Title 22 of the California Code of Regulations, or any other right provided for by federal or state law or regulation. The suit shall be brought in a court of competent jurisdiction. The licensee shall be liable for the acts of the licensee’s employees.
(A) For violations that occurred prior to March 1, 2021, the licensee shall be liable for up to five hundred dollars ($500) and for costs and attorney’s fees, and may be enjoined from permitting the violation or violations to continue.
(B) For violations that occur on or after March 1, 2021, the licensee shall be liable for up to five hundred dollars ($500) for each violation, and for costs and attorney’s fees, and may be enjoined from permitting the violation or violations to continue.
(C) An agreement by a resident or patient of a skilled nursing facility or intermediate care facility to waive that resident’s or patient’s rights to sue pursuant to this subdivision is void as contrary to public policy.
(2) In assessing the amount of the statutory damages to be awarded under this subdivision, the following factors shall be considered:
(A) The nature and seriousness of each violation.
(B) The likelihood and severity of the risk that each violation would cause a resident to suffer indignity, discomfort, or pain.
(C) The efforts made by the facility to prevent each violation from occurring or to prevent future violations.
(c) The remedies specified in this section are in addition to any other remedy provided by law.