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June 1 , 2006
Contact: Maribeth Bersani, 703-894-805 ext 209

Missouri Legislation Establishes New Licensure Category That Provides More Choices for Seniors

ALEXANDRIA, VA — A bill expected to be signed into law by Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt will give assisted living residents more opportunity to age in their residence of choice, particularly residents who receive hospice services and residents with Alzheimer’s or other dementia.

The law, which takes effect August 28, adds a new level of licensure for an “Assisted Living Facility” or ALF, replacing the Residential Care Facility (RCF) license. “It removes the restrictive ‘pathway to safety’ requirement,” which required that residents in assisted living be able to find exits without help, explained Sunrise Senior Living Area Director of Community Relations Stacy Tew-Lovasz.

Now, residents who need assistance with finding exits may remain in assisted living communities if the residence meets certain requirements, including having smoke alarms, sprinklers, evacuation plans, and 24-hour staffing. The “pathway to safety” was particularly restrictive for individuals with Alzheimer’s and dementia.

The new legislation also will ensure that only licensed Assisted Living Facilities will be able to hold themselves up as such, enabling consumers to better distinguish between long-term care environments.

“This legislation demonstrates that lawmakers are listening and responding to consumers,” said ALFA President/CEO Rick Grimes. “A senior should not be forced out of their assisted living residence because they need ‘assistance’ with exiting the building. This law supports the philosophy of assisted living, and promotes consumer choice and personalized care.”

The Coalition for Quality Senior Care, formed in 2004 to promote meaningful assisted living legislation, was instrumental in the bill’s creation and passage. Among the coalition’s members are Sunrise Senior Living and other providers and consumer organizations. The Alzheimer’s Association and the Missouri Assisted Living Association supported the legislation as well.

About the Assisted Living Federation of America
The Assisted Living Federation of America drives business excellence, ensures an informed public, and influences public policy to advance the business interests and operational excellence of companies leading professionally managed assisted living communities for seniors. ALFA advocates for choice, quality of care, accessibility, and improved state regulations for assisted living and for the seniors and families served by the assisted living industry. 

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