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Hearing of the Senate Aging Special Committee - Ensuring Quality and Oversight in Assisted Living

Statement

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Good afternoon, and thank you all for coming today. I am very pleased to have Senator Bill
Nelson, a longtime member of the Aging Committee, chair this hearing. He is a committed and
hard‐working member of this panel. The great state of Florida is home to the largest number of
seniors in the country and a leader among states in trends that shape long‐term care, including
assisted living.

We've also paid a great deal of attention to long‐term care in Wisconsin. In fact, two years ago,
we reached a point where the number of people living in assisted living residences exceeded
the number living in Wisconsin's nursing homes. More and more older Americans are looking
for options that let them stay within their community and allow them to remain as independent
as possible for as long as possible.

Recognizing the growing importance of assisted living, the Aging Committee hosted a
roundtable in March when Senator Corker and I gathered 19 talented experts to discuss a wide
range of topics, including ways to address the need for more affordable assisted living and how
to deal with consumers who can no longer afford to pay for their care. This afternoon we are
looking to this panel to help us craft solutions in two key areas -- quality assurance and
oversight.

Assisted living encompasses a large variety of residential options and levels of care that vary
from state to state and even within states. Despite the many differences, we need some level
of consistency in the quality of service and safety standards that all providers should be
expected to meet. We also need to understand how best to enforce these standards, and at
what level of government. And we need to provide much more transparency about quality and
foster a better dialogue between residents, their families and providers so that tragedies like
the one that Mr. Navas will relate are prevented.

We look forward to hearing from all of you, and we thank you again for coming. And with that, I
turn the gavel over to my good friend, Senator Nelson, who has been deeply involved in this
important issue.


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