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New Arizona law will hold long-term care facilities accountable for failing to keep residents safe

Coverage of aging is supported in part by AARP Arizona

Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs signed legislation Monday meant to hold long-term care facilities accountable for failing to keep residents safe. 

Hobbs signed House Bill 2764 which, among other things, requires the Arizona Department of Health Services to establish minimum training standards for those who work with residents with "memory care'' issues. 

"It’s historic legislation," said Dana Marie Kennedy with AARP Arizona. 

But it’s not just those training standards for staff. Something that stands out for Kennedy is the increase in fines. 

"It does raise the cap not only from $500 to $1,000, but it’s actually $1,000 per day, per resident, so that could actually have a real impact on those facilities that are bad actors," Kennedy said.

Republican Rep. Tim Dunn spoke at Monday’s bill signing. 

"The memory-care patient population continues to rise in Arizona and our state needs to be a leader in providing high quality services. HB 2764 will positively impact directed and assisted care services to over 60,000 Arizona citizens that are truly thankful," said Dunn.

"A lot of facilities, they basically put out that there are memory-care facilities. So it does make sure that they comply with licensing requirements to be able to call themselves memory care. And I think that's really important, because we know that many families actually spend additional dollars to place a loved one in a memory-care facility," said Kennedy.

The bill also prevents facilities from hiring or continuing to employ people whose names are on the Adult Protective Services registry.

Senior field correspondent Kathy Ritchie has 20 years of experience reporting and writing stories for national and local media outlets — nearly a decade of it has been spent in public media.