Assisted living transparency bill clears hurdle

Investigates

Following our KELOLAND News investigation into visitation rights at long-term care facilities, the South Dakota Senate is taking action to require more transparency from assisted living centers in the state.

KELOLAND Investigates brought you the story of two families, whose loved ones in long-term care have struggled with isolation during the pandemic.

Neither family knew that according to South Dakota’s Department of Health reopening plan, they could have been requesting essential and compassionate caregiver visits since June. A bill, passed unanimously by the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, today, would require assisted living centers to post their visitation policies and documents they are using to base them on, on their websites for families.

“So six months later, facility websites still don’t mention essential care giver or compassionate caregiver visit. How do families know their rights are being violated, if they don’t know what rights they have? How do they know to search the website for a CMS memo or South Dakota reopening plan, if they have no idea that one exists? How do they know to ask for an essential caregiver or compassionate caregiver visit? Even an ombudsman is available on request. But no one knows about it.”

Janet Jensen, HB1139 supporter

Jensen says rules have been inconsistent from one facility to another during the pandemic.
The bill now goes to the full Senate. You can see our entire investigation here:

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