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AARP-Arizona applauds governor for long-term care policy priorities 

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Alex Gonzalez

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(Arizona News Connection) According to AARP Arizona, Governor Katie Hobbs is "spot on" with the policy improvements she says she'll prioritize for Arizona's long-term care facilities in this year's legislative session. Hobbs outlined her priorities in her State of the State address. 

Brendon Blake, director of advocacy with AARP Arizona, said his organization wants to see what he calls a "bipartisan consensus," to improve the state's long-term care system through strengthening licensing and enforcement policies, improving quality of care and enhancing reporting processes. 

"Regardless of what people's political beliefs are, I think we can all agree that if facilities are acting badly, then those facilities should be punished accordingly or put on a corrective action," Blake said. "Maybe they just don't have the training or the resources in figuring out, what are some solutions?"

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Blake argued the status quo for long-term care right now is unacceptable and his organization is calling for better access to data about what happens inside Arizona's assisted living facilities, plus better protections for residents, and an easier process for people to determine the 'good' and 'bad' actors in selecting long-term care. 

Blake said ensuring accountability and transparency is paramount, and added the recently introduced House Bill 2653 would require assisted-living facilities to report what happens behind closed doors. He said, for instance, they are required to have what's known as a fall prevention plan, but are not required to track the number of falls that actually take place. 

"Our legislation will try to require them to report falls that happen in their facility, or when they reach out to the outside world for help," he said. "So, say they need to call 911 for an emergency - we think those kinds of things should be reported. We don't want it to be over burdensome, but we also think we just need more reporting requirements in place."

Blake said AARP's view is that more reporting requirements are needed to ensure the safety and well-being of residents.