LANSING – State Rep. Henry Yanez (D-Sterling Heights) introduced House Bill 5182 today to require all facilities acting as a group home or adult foster care facility to be licensed with the state. Adult foster care facilities provide care for adults who need supervision on an ongoing basis but do not need continuous nursing care. Under current law, those that provide only some services to this population do not have to be licensed.
“Foster care facilities serve a real need for some of our most vulnerable citizens, yet because some of these facilities are exempt from state licensing, we cannot always be certain residents are safe and well-cared for,” said Yanez. “We’ve all heard horror stories of vulnerable and elderly adults being mistreated in some of these homes. We need to change the law so that these facilities are licensed and there is a uniform set of requirements across the state.”
Currently, any adult foster care facility must be licensed if it provides personal care, supervision and protection in addition to room and board to 20 unrelated persons who are aged, mentally ill, developmentally disabled or physically disabled for 24 hours a day, five or more days a week for two or more consecutive weeks for compensation. The loophole exists when a business entity owning the home provides some, but not all, of these services, and then contracts out the services, such as personal care, to a separate entity. In that case, neither entity requires licensure.
In recent years, a Genesee County woman was arrested when evidence of problems including neglect, distribution of expired medications, and allegations of health care fraud were found at her five unlicensed adult foster care facilities. This is just one instance, but an indicator of why the state should act to license these homes so that situations such as these can be discovered more easily and steps taken to protect residents.
Yanez’s bill would close this loophole and require these facilities to also be licensed. By wrapping these facilities into the current law, they would also have to adhere to other requirements including criminal background checks on employees and employers, evaluation of the qualifications of applicants, on-site inspections without prior notice and financial disclosure of stakeholders.
“The way this law is written now, it is very difficult for a family member to know if the home they’ve chosen for their loved one is a licensed home that is well-run and inspected by the state,” said Yanez. “Closing this loophole and licensing all adult foster care facilities will give families the information they need, and make it easier for state officials to find the bad actors and intervene to make sure that vulnerable adults are well-cared for.”