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Pa. assisted-living bill signed

HARRISBURG — Elderly and disabled Pennsylvanians will soon have a new long-term care alternative — “assisted living residences” for those who need more services than personal-care homes provide but do not require the full-time attention of a nursing home.

A bill signed by Gov. Ed Rendell on Wednesday ended a decade-old debate and made Pennsylvania the 40th state to mandate licensing standards for assisted-living facilities, even though some residential centers are already using the term to describe their programs.

Rendell held a news conference where he was flanked by legislators from both parties who worked on the bill.

“The big winners in the legislation are indeed the consumers of assisted living,” said Sen. Patricia H. Vance, R-Cumberland, the bill’s sponsor.

State Rep. Phyllis Mundy, D-Kingston, introduced an assisted living bill in the House.

Assisted-living residences will be licensed to provide basic health-care services, such as administering intravenous medications or treating bed sores, said Dr. Stuart Shapiro, head of the Pennsylvania Health Care Association.

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