The Georgia General Assembly has passed two new healthcare related measures. The first bill, entitled the “Disabled Adults and Elder Persons Protection Act,” enjoyed bipartisan support and is expected to be signed into law shortly. The second act extends Medicaid coverage for postpartum care for new mothers to four months, up from two months.
Among the provisions of the Disabled Adults and Elder Persons Protection Act are:
- Job protection for whistleblowers
- Increased fines for violation of regulations for facilities
- A minimum fine of $5,000 for a regulatory violation that results in serious injury or death
- Extension of regulation to personal care homes and assisted living facilities
- Requiring direct patient care by qualified personnel at personal care homes with more than 25 beds with minimum staffing ratios
- The staffing requirement includes a comprehensive clinical skills review and a medication aide
- Requiring comprehensive clinical skills evaluation for staff at other facilities
- Regulations for memory care and Alzheimer’s and dementia care units
- Pandemic planning, including maintaining a minimum amount of personal protective equipment
- Authorization to develop licensure and oversight standards for personal care home administrators
These changes were prompted in large part by a newspaper expose on personal care homes, which was published last Fall, and the COVID-19/novel coronavirus outbreak, which hit Georgia elder care facilities particularly hard. Notably, there are no new liability provisions, but the extension of regulations to previously non-regulated or under-regulated facilities makes these bills significant for any provider of residential elder care.