County Executive John R. Leopold Opposes Proposed Assisted Living Regulations - New language eliminates essential nutritional standards
Annapolis (June 11, 2007) - County Executive John R. Leopold announced today his opposition to changes in the Assisted Living Program regulations proposed in COMAR 10.07.14.28 Services. In a letter to the State Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the County Executive denounced the changes that eliminate and dilute essential nutritional standards in Maryland.
"As written, the current regulations provide stronger nutritional standards to safeguard the health of our senior population," said County Executive Leopold. "There is undeniable linkage between diet and diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke and cancer. In a County and State where cancer, especially, is documented in high numbers, we must do all that we can to provide the maximum dietary health standards for citizens."
Further, the new regulations remove language that now permits residents to dine together. "It is a fact that people physically decline when they are isolated and don’t have the opportunity to socialize and enjoy a meal together," said County Executive Leopold.
In Anne Arundel County alone, there are more than 92 licensed assisted living facilities, home to perhaps the most vulnerable population. To the determent of those residents and their families, the proposed revisions replace concise, enforceable language with vague standards, subject to interpretation by the operators of these facilities and the regulators alike.
In a joint statement from Health Officer Frances Phillips and Wayne Taylor, Director, Department of Aging and Disabilities, they stressed, that as regulators, it is imperative that they have the tools to ensure that operators are serving nutritious, balanced meals and that the appropriate dietary records are developed and maintained. As proposed, the language eliminates some of those provisions and renders others virtually unenforceable.
In addition to the formal letter of opposition, the County Executive will request a hearing with the Administrative Executive and Legislative Review Committee.