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Georgia’s Senior Care Reform Bill Adds COVID-19 Requirements to New Legislation for Assisted Living Communities

Written by: Brittany H. Cone, Esq. and Jordan Johnson, Esq.

On June 30, 2020, Governor Kemp signed House Bill 987, known as the Senior Care Reform Bill, into law.  This legislation covers numerous topics related to Assisted Living Communities that go into effect on July 1, 2021, including:

  • Initial and annual training requirements;
  • Minimum staffing requirements and ratios; and
  • Memory care unit specific staffing, training, and policy/procedural requirements.

The legislation also addresses significant fine increases and the creation of the State Board of Long Term Care Administrators, which go into effect immediately.

This new law does not stop there. It also features multiple COVID-19 related provisions with which all long-term care facilities, including skilled nursing facilities, are required to comply. These requirements include protocols for notifying residents and representatives of confirmed infections or onset of symptoms, PPE supplies, infection control policies and procedures, the inclusion of infectious disease protocols within the disaster preparedness plan, and mandated testing of all direct care staff and residents. Facilities have until September 28, 2020 to complete this testing; however, at this time, there is no grace period for the completion of the remaining COVID-19 requirements. Further, the legislation authorizes the Department to establish additional testing rules and regulations after September 28, 2020.

As the long-term care industry continues to do its best in the battle against COVID-19 and the impact it is having on our state’s most vulnerable while navigating regulatory changes, we are here to provide any assistance we can related to these new requirements. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to us.