"Kansas is on the verge of stepping out and being a leader in the regulation of assisted living," said Marla Lopeman, national vice president of sales and marketing for Alterra Healthcare, one of the nation's largest assisted-living companies.
Since the change, facilities' annual surveys are more efficient, Lopeman
says, and when problems arise, they are dealt with quicker."The survey process is not more lenient.It just got quicker and more collaborative," she
said the assisted-living industry and KDHE
still were trying to figure out how best to notify the media when the state takes action against a facility.
"The media likes to portray us with the tobacco industry," Lopeman
often notified the media of enforcement action weeks after the problem has already been cleared. Alterra
serves about 850 patients in Kansas with 28 assisted-living residences, including four for Alzheimer's disease patients.
Last year, Kansas Department of Health
and Environment banned admissions at Alterra facilities in Overland Park, Junction City, Abilene and Wichita after the facilities failed inspections.In 2001, bans were imposed at Alterra facilities in Salina (two), Olathe (two), Abilene and Junction City.The company recently filedfor Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.