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There has been a lot of activity in the Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) space recently. Below is a summary of current activity.

DOH News

During a presentation to the LeadingAge NY membership at our Annual Conference, Mark Furnish, who serves as the CCRC Council Chair, committed to work with LeadingAge NY on CCRC reform. The Department of Health (DOH) has indicated a willingness to revisit the statute and explore ways in which we can improve the experience of providers and the people they serve.

In addition, Mike Heeran from DOH shared the below announcement:

I am pleased to announce Lynn Baniak has been hired as the new Deputy Director for the Center for Long-Term Care Licensure, Planning & Finance. Lynn will oversee and coordinate the work for all programs and bureaus within the Center; including the CCRC Program. The CCRC industry may remember Lynn from when we worked together for the DOH CCRC Program from 2019-2020, because of this she has a working knowledge of the NYS CCRC Program. 

The new reporting chain for the NYS CCRC Program will be:

Michael Heeran, CCRC Program Unit lead.

Lynn Baniak, Deputy Center Director. Center for Long-Term Care Licensure, Planning & Finance. 

Mark Furnish, Center Director. Center for Long-Term Care Licensure, Planning & Finance. 

Valerie Deetz, Deputy Director. Office of Aging and Long-Term Care. 

Adam Herbst, Deputy Commissioner. Office of Aging and Long-Term Care. 

There is no change to how CCRCs communicate with DOH. I will remain the main point of contact for the DOH CCRC Program. Mark Furnish will remain the CCRC Council Chair.

Please let Mike Heeran know if you have questions regarding this change.

DFS News

LeadingAge NY has learned that Warren Youngs of the Department of Financial Services (DFS) has retired. Warren’s successor has not yet been identified; DFS is looking for a candidate. In the interim, communications should be sent to Ergys Shanaj at DFS.

CCRC Council

The CCRC Council met on May 11, 2023. A recording of the meeting and materials can be found on the DOH webpage here.

After a long wait, Wolk Manor was added to The Summit at Brighton’s certificate of authority (COA). In addition, a name change was approved for Glen Arden to The Knolls, which will officially transition to be managed by Bethel Communities Management. Residents of Glen Arden will experience a smooth transition. We congratulate both LeadingAge NY members for the long-awaited steps forward.

Unfortunately, one of the public members of the CCRC Council, Wayne Kaplan, resigned. The ongoing challenge of achieving a quorum could bring projects to a standstill without needed Council approval. One of the public members inquired about what the Department is doing to address this issue. The Department indicated a commitment to be on a more “aggressive track” with CCRC business. They also noted that packets are prepared and in various stages for open seats; however, the process takes months to complete.

CCRC Advocacy

Legislation has been introduced to help address key CCRC issues, some of which are noted above. A.7742 (Paulin)/S.7483 (Cleare), if passed, would:

  • consolidate authority of oversight into one state agency, DOH, by transferring the responsibilities of DFS to DOH.
  • transition the role of the CCRC Council to more of an advisory group, and transition their approval authorities to DOH.
  • allow DOH to raise the priority reservation fee deposit limit periodically – now currently capped at $2,000 in statute.

As a reminder, a version of this bill was passed by the Legislature in 2019, but vetoed by the Governor. Modifications made to the bill address the concerns in the veto message by ensuring the authority to provide resources to DOH to take on the oversight DFS currently provides, and time to do so. The bill would also allow the Department to contract out for the activities DFS currently conducts if they deem necessary.

The priority reservation fee deposit piece is new, to help ensure that a deposit reflects a genuine interest in the community. These deposits are fully refundable.

Overall, this bill would enact changes to enable CCRCs to respond more nimbly to the changing environment, while preserving consumer protections and oversight. It would:

  • eliminate delays inherent in the current structure that ultimately have cost CCRCs, and therefore their residents. The current structure has also resulted in delayed renovations and the development of innovative approaches to service delivery, which again affect the financial health of the community and the quality of life of residents.
  • recognize that CCRCs have not fit well under DFS oversight, which is really designed for financial institutions and larger insurers – not a small provider of housing and health care.
  • address the challenges that the CCRC Council has had in filling seats and achieving a quorum, which then delays action on anything that requires Council approval.

We will keep members apprised of developments in these last days of legislative session, and we urge all members to advocate for the bill to be taken up and passed in this legislative session by both houses.

Contact: Diane Darbyshire, ddarbyshire@leadingageny.org, 518-867-8828