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2005 Testimony

Testimony Before The Senate Human Services Committee

Judy Lee, Chairman

HB 1147 - Assisted living facilities

February 14, 2005

Chairman Lee, members of the committee, I am David Skalsky, a Program Administrator with the Medical Services Division of the Department of Human Services. I appear before you today, on behalf of the Department, to provide information and support this bill.

The proposed changes to the North Dakota Century Code are the results of the efforts of the Assisted Living Work group, which consists of representatives from assisted living facilities, North Dakota Long Term Care Association, Home Care Association, State Insurance Commissioners Department, State Department of Health, and Department of Human Services.

In addition to other requirements stated in the law, the passage of this bill would require the building or structure, where the tenants reside, to contain at least five living units before the operating entity can be given a license to operate an assisted living facility. The bill also requires the living unit to contain a sleeping area, an entry door that can be locked, and a private bath with a toilet, bathtub or shower, and sink.

The bill also states that no more than two people may occupy one bedroom of an assisted living facility.

The purpose of these changes is to set a minimum standard for what must be contained in the living unit of an assisted living facility and to prevent entities from warehousing tenants. These changes will also help to insure that the department will not have to license adult family foster care homes as assisted living facilities, simply because the adult family foster care provider takes another person into their home. Currently adult family foster care is limited to 4 individuals.

The concept of adult family foster care is to provide a family environment in a person's home to individuals who need support services, whereas assisted living is a social model where individuals who live in the facility have access to services that are either provided or coordinated by the operating entity. The services are to help the client maintain independence and should be provided on an as needed basis.

The bill also makes changes to chapter 23-09 of the North Dakota Century Code. These changes were made to reflect changes made to chapter 50-32.

Other changes proposed in the bill would prevent a facility that is licensed to provide residential care to the developmentally disabled or to provide foster care for adults, from being licensed as an assisted living facility.

The Department supports this bill and recommends that you consider a do pass for this proposed legislation.

I would be happy to respond to any questions you may have.


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