A state Senate committee’s unanimous passage today of legislation sponsored by Senator Robert Singer, R-Monmouth, Ocean, provides momentum for the state legislature to establish and clarify basic rights for retirement community residents under continuing care.
Senator Singer’s S-2052, approved today by the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee, would serve as the “Bill of Rights for Continuing Care Retirement Community Residents in Independent Living.”
“This legislation empowers and protects residents of CCRCs, to assure that they will have an active voice and fair opportunity to participate in decisions that have a direct bearing on their quality of life,” Singer said.
Singer’s bill limits the circumstances in which residents could be forced out of units; it guarantees them a reasonable amount of privacy in their units; affords them the right to participate in residents’ associations; provides them the right to seek advocacy, file complaints and have those complaints investigated promptly; requires facilities to give reasonable notice before changing services or fees; allows residents to choose their doctors or caregivers, see their own medical records and decide upon treatments; permits residents to execute an advance directive concerning the use of life sustaining treatment and the right to expect that the provisions of the advance directive be executed to the fullest extent possible; and it allows residents to leave and return facilities at-will, host guests for reasonable amounts of time, and the right to refuse to perform services for the facility without coercion.
Violators of S-2052 face cease-and-desist orders and fines of between $250 and $50,000. This legislation is suggested by the Organization of Residents Associations of New Jersey and also sponsored by an Assembly Democrat. It requires retirement communities and care facilities to provide each resident with a copy of this bill of rights and the facilities rules and regulations.
“Residents in continuing care facilities deserve at once this vigorous Bill of Rights,” Singer concluded. “I am committed to seeing its immediate passage by this legislature.”