TRENTON – A bill sponsored by Senator Ellen Karcher which would require 60-day notice in the event of closure or relocation of a nursing home or assisted living residences was approved today by the Senate by a vote of 37-0, receiving final legislative approval.
“When a nursing home closes its doors, it can create a real hardship for residents and their families who have to make alternative arrangements,” said Senator Karcher, D-Monmouth and Mercer. “Picking an appropriate nursing home setting that meets the needs of the resident and the family takes time, and should not be rushed. Giving nursing home residents advanced warning when a facility is set to close would allow them and their families to make the best, most educated decision regarding their long-term care.”
The bill, S-1952, would require that at least 60 days prior to the proposed date of closing or relocation of a licensed nursing home or assisted living facility, the facility administrator must notify, in writing, the residents, or their legal representatives, if applicable, and the State Department of Health and Senior Services. The Commissioner of Health and Senior Services may waive the 60-day notice requirement, on an emergency basis. Under current law, notification must happen at least 30 days prior to closing or relocation.
“In many cases, the facility administrators know well in-advance and can make the appropriate plans for their own futures,” said Senator Karcher. “We don’t think it’s too much to ask to let nursing home residents be in the loop regarding pending facility closures. A 60-day timeframe would give residents the timeframe they need so they’re not pushed into a home that isn’t right for them, simply because they have nowhere else to go.”
The bill now heads to the Governor to be signed into law.