Assisted living fines go uncollected in California

SAN DIEGO (AP) — California regulators fail to collect half the fines levied on assisted living homes for failing to properly care for elderly residents. When they do, payments often arrive late.

U-T San Diego (http://bit.ly/196ljb7 ) reported Sunday that the California Department of Social Services has collected only half of the $2.9 million in penalties it levied against facilities statewide since July 2007. One reason is there is no penalty for late payment.

State officials say they do their best to collect but violators often close and move away. With limited resources, they say they must juggle responsibilities, and collecting penalties is not always at the top of their list.

The maximum penalty for a violation is $150, even when a resident dies due to negligent care.

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Information from: U-T San Diego, http://www.utsandiego.com