California recently enacted two laws that expand the training and staffing requirements for assisted living facilities in the state and another measure that requires hospitals to implement a workplace violence prevention plan.  

Assisted Living Bills

Assembly Bill 1570 requires applicants who seek to work in an assisted living facility to attend an 80-hour certification program and pass a 100-question examination administered by the state.  The certification program and examination focus on certain core topics such as the physical and psychosocial needs of elderly residents, medication management, managing Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, resident’s rights, and sensitivity training on issues relating to the underserved, aging, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community.  

Assembly Bill 2044 requires assisted living facilities to maintain at least one administrator, facility manager, or qualified substitute on the premises 24 hours per day.  The bill also requires assisted living facilities to ensure that at least one staff member with CPR and first aid training is on duty and on the premises at all times. 

Workplace Violence

The governor also signed into law Senate Bill 1299, which requires the state’s Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board, by July 1, 2016, to adopt standards requiring certain hospitals to implement a workplace violence prevention plan as part of their injury and illness prevention plans. The workplace violence prevention plan is aimed at protecting healthcare workers and other facility personnel from aggressive and violent behavior.  By January 1, 2017, and annually thereafter, the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) will be required to post a report on its website containing specific information related to violent incidents at hospitals.  

The workplace violence plans must include: 

  • Procedures for investigating and responding to incidents of workplace violence;
  • Procedures for evaluating the sufficiency of staffing levels and hospital security, in light of security risks associated with particular units or shifts;
  • Education and training programs to help employees identify and respond to workplace violence;
  • Provisions setting forth the hospital’s duty to document and report incidents of violence to Cal-OSHA; and
  • Provisions prohibiting retaliation against employees who seek help from law enforcement. 

With workplace violence commanding frequent attention in the news and the steady increase in abuse and neglect claims against assisted living facilities, healthcare providers outside of California may see similar legislation in their states in the near future.