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SALEM – House Bill 2661, which went into effect last week, increases protections for consumers who use agents to find a long-term care facility.

Long-term care referral agents, who receive at least $1,000 in compensation from long-term care facilities, must now register with the State of Oregon to continue doing business here.

Agents will need to demonstrate to the Department of Human Services (DHS) that they meet the bill’s operating and disclosure requirements to do business in Oregon. These requirements include ensuring that independent agents and any employees of referral companies who have direct contact with a client, have submitted to a background check.

“It’s important that seniors and their loved ones are able to make informed decisions at what can be a stressful time of their lives,” said Rep. Alissa Keny-Guyer, D-Portland, who sponsored the Long Term Care Referral Agency bill. “This regulation ensures transparency of an agent’s relationship with the long-term care facility and other protections for vulnerable seniors. Having a registry will also enable DHS to connect agents with the latest research and training in Alzheimer’s and dementia care.”

Oregon is among the first states in the nation to provide a registry and regulations for long-term care referral agents. The registry will provide Oregonians, who prefer to work with an agent, a means to search online for one of the many reputable companies that operate in Oregon.

“Finding a long-term care facility that best meets a consumer’s preferences and needs is essential for their happiness and well-being. HB2661 contains common-sense safeguards and transparency for people who are often shopping for long-term care in a state of crisis,” said Mike McCormick, Deputy Director of Aging and People with Disabilities program within DHS.

The new law does the following:

• Requires long-term care agents who receive at least $1,000 in compensation a year to register with DHS;

• Prohibits long-term care agents from referring to entities with whom they have an ownership interest;

• Requires obtaining $1 million in general liability insurance;

• Restricts an agent from selling a client’s placement information to a facility or marketing affiliate without obtaining consent from the client for each instance of sharing or selling this information;

• Designates registered referral agents as mandatory reporters of abuse. For more on mandatory reporting of abuse visit this website.

• Prohibits an agent from communicating with clients who state in writing that they do not want to be contacted.

It also requires agents to provide clients with:

• A description of the long-term care referral to be provided, including the length of any contract;

• Their contact information, including address and phone number;

• Their privacy policy;

• A statement of whether they provide referrals only to facilities with which the agent has an existing contract;

• A statement about whether the fees for the long-term care referral will be paid to the agent by the facility.

For more information about the law and how to register as an agent, please visit: ltcr.oregon.gov.

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Umpqua Post Editor