Article 4. Nursing Facilities
Sec. 18.20.300. State policy.
It is the policy of the state to ensure that the quality of care in nursing facilities in this state is maintained at a high standard in accordance with applicable state and federal law and regulations and to ensure the health, safety, and quality of life of nursing facility residents in Alaska is maintained or enhanced.
Sec. 18.20.302. Criminal background check for employees.
(a) A nursing facility may not employ an individual in a paid position that the department has determined is covered by this section, according to its regulations, unless the individual, before beginning employment,
(1) provides to the facility a sworn statement as to whether the individual has been convicted of an offense described in (c) of this section;
(2) provides to the facility the results of a name-check criminal background investigation that was completed by the Department of Public Safety no more than 30 days before the individual is hired; and
(3) submits to the facility two full sets of the individual's fingerprints.
(b) Within 30 days after employing an individual in a paid position, a nursing facility shall submit to the Department of Public Safety the fingerprints obtained under (a)(3) of this section. The Department of Public Safety shall submit the fingerprints to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for a national criminal history record check. When the results are received, the department shall advise the facility of
(1) the date on which the fingerprint background check was completed; and
(2) whether the check shows that the individual has committed an offense described in (c) of this section.
(c) A nursing facility may not hire or retain an employee who has been convicted of an offense listed in the department's regulations as being an offense covered by this section.
Sec. 18.20.305. Nursing facility regulations.
The department shall adopt necessary regulations to implement AS 18.20.300 - 18.20.390 in accordance with AS 44.62 (Administrative Procedure Act). The department shall, by regulation, specify criteria as to when and how the sanctions specified in AS 18.20.310 will be applied. The criteria must provide for the imposition of incrementally more severe penalties for deficiencies that are uncorrected or pervasive, or that present a threat to the health, safety, or welfare of nursing facility residents.
Sec. 18.20.310. Sanctions for noncompliance.
(a) If the department finds that a nursing facility, or a partner, officer, director, owner of five percent or more of the nursing facility's assets, or managing employee of the nursing facility substantially failed or refused to comply with AS 08.68.340 - 08.68.390, AS 08.70, AS 18.20.010 - 18.20.130, AS 47.07, or with a regulation adopted under any of those statutes, or, for a nursing facility that provides Medicaid services under AS 47.07, failed or refused to comply with the Medicaid requirements of 42 U.S.C. 1396r (Title XIX of the Social Security Act, as amended) or a regulation adopted under that statute, the department may take the following actions:
(1) ban the admission of new residents to the nursing facility;
(2) as provided in AS 18.20.320, deny payment under AS 47.07 and AS 47.25.120 - 47.25.300 for any Medicaid or general relief-medical resident admitted to the nursing facility after notice by the department of denial of payment; residents who are eligible for Medicaid or general relief-medical are not responsible for payment when the department takes action under this paragraph;
(3) assess a civil fine in accordance with AS 18.20.340;
(4) suspend or terminate the nursing facility's participation in the Medicaid program;
(5) suspend, revoke, or refuse to renew the nursing facility's license issued under this chapter;
(6) seek an appointment of temporary administration as provided in AS 18.20.360 or of a receiver under AS 18.20.370;
(7) in case of an emergency, seek an order from the court either to close the nursing facility or to transfer residents from that facility, or both.
(b) An order of the department imposing a sanction described in
(1) (a)(1), (4), or (5) of this section takes effect immediately upon service of the order on the nursing facility; however, if the facility can demonstrate to the department's satisfaction that the deficiencies prompting the order do not jeopardize the health or safety of facility residents or seriously limit the nursing facility's capacity to provide adequate care, the department's order takes effect 10 days after service;
(2) (a)(2) or (3) of this section takes effect 10 days after service of the order on the nursing facility.
(c) A hearing may be requested under AS 18.20.330 regarding a sanction imposed by the department under this section.
Sec. 18.20.320. Denial of payment.
The department shall deny payment under AS 47.07 or AS 47.25.120 - 47.25.300 to a nursing facility
(1) that is not in compliance, and, for the preceding three months, has not been in compliance, with the requirements of 42 U.S.C. 1396r (Title XIX of the Social Security Act, as amended), and regulations adopted under that statute, until correction of the deficiency; or
(2) if the department finds, on three consecutive reviews, that the nursing facility provided substandard quality of care; the department shall deny payment under this paragraph for new admissions until the facility has demonstrated to the satisfaction of the department that it is in compliance with the Medicaid requirements of 42 U.S.C. 1396r, and that it will remain in compliance with the requirements.
Sec. 18.20.330. Appeal: hearing.
(a) Notwithstanding AS 44.62.330 - 44.62.630, the department, by regulation, shall establish a hearing procedure by which a nursing facility may present evidence to refute a deficiency found by the department, and by which it may appeal a sanction imposed by order of the department under AS 18.20.310 . A request for a hearing shall be made in writing within 10 days after service of the department's order on the nursing facility. Except for an order that takes effect immediately under AS 18.20.310 (b)(1), a request under this subsection has the effect of staying the department's order until the hearing is concluded and the department makes a final determination.
(b) An appeal, or request for stay, regarding a sanction imposed by the court under AS 18.20.310 (a)(6) or (7), 18.20.360, or 18.20.370, shall be filed with the court in accordance with the Rules of Civil Procedure.
Sec. 18.20.340. Civil fines.
In accordance with regulations adopted by the department under AS 44.62.010 - 44.62.300, the department may assess and collect, with interest, a civil fine of up to $10,000 a day for each day a nursing facility is or was out of compliance with any of the federal or state statutes or regulations listed in AS 18.20.310 . The department shall annually increase the maximum amount of the civil fine authorized in this section by a percentage equal to the percentage of increase in all items of the Consumer Price Index for all urban consumers for Anchorage, Alaska. Each day upon which the same or a substantially similar noncompliance occurs is a separate violation subject to the assessment of a separate civil fine. A civil fine assessed under this section is not reimbursable under AS 47.07 or AS 47.25.120 - 47.25.300. The department shall deduct the amount of a civil fine from reimbursement due or to be due the nursing facility under AS 47.07 or AS 47.25.120 - 47.25.300. The department may also use any remedy available under law to pursue collection of an unpaid fine.
Sec. 18.20.350. Nursing facility resident security fund.
(a) There is established in the department, as a fund separate from other public money of the state, the nursing facility resident security fund. This fund consists of all civil fines collected under AS 18.20.310(a)(3) and 18.20.340 related to noncompliance with 42 U.S.C. 1396r(b), (c), or (d), and all interest earned on money in the fund.
(b) The nursing facility resident security fund shall be administered by the department. Money in the fund may only be used for the protection of the health or property of residents of nursing facilities found to be out of compliance with 42 U.S.C. 1396r(b), (c), or (d), or a regulation adopted under those statutes, including payment for the costs of relocation of residents to other facilities, maintenance of operation of a facility pending correction of deficiencies or closure, and reimbursement to a resident for personal money lost.
Sec. 18.20.360. Temporary management.
(a) If the department determines that the health or safety of the residents of a nursing facility is immediately jeopardized as the result of the nursing facility's failure or refusal to comply with a state statute or regulation, or failure or refusal to comply with the Medicaid requirements in 42 U.S.C. 1396r (Title XIX of the Social Security Act) or a regulation adopted under that statute, the department shall immediately petition the superior court for an order for appointment of temporary administration to
(1) oversee the operation of the facility; and
(2) ensure the health and safety of the facility's residents while orderly closure of the facility occurs or the deficiencies necessitating temporary administration are corrected.
(b) The court shall grant the petition if it finds by a preponderance of the evidence that the conditions in (a) of this section exist.
Sec. 18.20.370. Receivership.
(a) The department may petition the superior court for establishment of a receivership for a nursing facility if the department finds that one of the following conditions exists and the current operator has demonstrated an inability or unwillingness to take action necessary to immediately correct the conditions alleged:
(1) the facility is operating without a license;
(2) the health, safety, or welfare of the facility's residents is immediately jeopardized;
(3) the facility demonstrates a pattern and practice of violating state or federal statutes or regulations in such a way that minimum resident care is jeopardized.
(b) The court shall grant the petition if it finds by a preponderance of the evidence that one or more of the conditions in (a) of this section exist and the current operator is unable or unwilling to take action necessary to correct the condition.
Sec. 18.20.390. Definitions.
In AS 18.20.300 - 18.20.390, unless the context requires otherwise,
(1) "department" means the Department of Health and Social Services;
(2) "general relief-medical" means the medical assistance program authorized in AS 47.25.120 - 47.25.300;
(3) "nursing facility" means an institution, or a distinct part of an institution, as defined in 42 U.S.C. 1396r;
(4) "Medicaid" means the medical assistance program authorized in AS 47.07.