I aim to reinstate a long-forgotten advisory committee responsible for monitoring the financial affairs of continuing care retirement communities, known as CCRCs, throughout the state. I organized a meeting last Wednesday at the Department of Social Services on the topic.
Residents of CCRCs such as Meadow Ridge in Redding typically pay a sizeable upfront fee to move into the community. CCRC operators are then required to keep a reserve fund to pay back a portion of that money to the estate of the resident, or to those residents who decide to move elsewhere.
There has been some concern from resident advocacy groups about a general lack of financial disclosure to residents and that certain operators may not be maintaining sufficient financial reserves.
The problem stems from the slumping real estate market. While new residents are having difficulty selling their homes to raise the entrance fee, reserve payouts continue at the normal mortality rate. The fear is that some CCRCs could go out of business, taking residents' money with them.
The Department of Social Services has one staff person responsible for reviewing financial statements prepared by CCRCs, but many residents say it's too big of a job for one person. Enter here the long-forgotten CCRC advisory committee.
Under existing state law, the commissioner of the Department of Social Services is required to appoint members to an unpaid advisory committee comprised of accountants, actuaries, insurance representatives and representatives of the continuing care industry who in turn monitor and address the concerns of CCRCs throughout the State.
Plain and simple, this is a consumer protection issue. I was joined at the meeting by Dan Robinson, president of ConnCCRA and a resident of Meadow Ridge. Somewhere along the way this committee was dissolved and abandoned. Our goal is to avert the crisis now, rather than respond after it's too late.
DSS staffers will report back to the group in the coming months.
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