Go to boarding school: private nursing homes will be taken out of the shadows

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In Russia, from 2022, they want to introduce compulsory licensing of private boarding schools for the elderly, disabled people and people with mental disabilities. This concept was developed by the Ministry of Labor. The head of the department, Anton Kotyakov, announced on January 26 that he was ready, together with the deputies, to work out and submit to the State Duma a corresponding bill. The ministry expects that it will be adopted in the spring session. The Ministry of Labor is confident that licensing will help bring out of the shadows the majority of “gray” establishments, whose services are unsafe – fires and other emergencies occur in them all the time. Experts believe that small institutions can go even deeper into the shadows if they are not offered special conditions.

Security guarantee

According to the Ministry of Labor, over 300 thousand elderly and people with disabilities, including children, live in 2 791 state hospitals of social services.

There are more than 1,400 nongovernmental organizations in the country, according to the Ministry’s experts, but only 255 of them are included in the register of social service providers. While this option is optional, although it allows private boarding schools to take clients for whom the state pays on an equal basis with state institutions. Boarding schools included in the register are checked in the same way as state ones. That is, they are guaranteed to take all safety measures, including sanitary and fire safety measures.

The rest of the organizations are often out of sight of the regulatory authorities. Although they often function in violation of the norms, in rooms unsuitable for people with limited mobility.

Relatives of citizens who are in these institutions, and these are elderly people, disabled people, including disabled children, can visually assess the activities of these organizations and their readiness to provide social services. But often this is not enough, an appropriate qualification is required here. That is why we believe that licensing will significantly reduce the risks that we have today, – said Anton Kotyakov, speaking at the second social online forum of United Russia.

The mechanism of compulsory licensing of social service activities in the Ministry of Labor is considered the most effective way to restore order in this area.

The department proposes to develop three types of licenses: for children’s, adult organizations and those that provide services to people with mental disorders. In all three cases, we are talking only about hospitals, that is, boarding houses.

Licensing requirements will apply to the buildings of such institutions, the size of the premises, the personnel, the living conditions of the clients: nutrition, hygienic care, and the provision of medical assistance. The presence of a license will become a security guarantee for the consumer. And the lack of a license is, on the contrary, an alarming signal, the Ministry of Labor believes. Licensing will ensure the “screening out” of those organizations that provide services in inappropriate and sometimes dangerous conditions for senior citizens.

“We are ready, together with the party, if there is such an interest, to come up with a legislative initiative and work out the necessary changes,” the minister said.

The Ministry of Labor informed Izvestia about the high degree of readiness of the development.

“We have fully worked out the concept, the licensing model, and are ready, together with the deputies, to promptly introduce such amendments in the near future,” Deputy Minister Olga Batalina told Izvestia. – Writing a law is not as long as determining what should be included in it. We went through this whole process.

The concept was supported by the chairman of United Russia Dmitry Medvedev.

– Of course, we need to put things in order, but this does not mean that we should generally slam down all institutions of this kind that are not state-owned. Because they have an important social mission. You just need to put things in order. The transitional period that you mentioned would really help to carry out all the necessary measures. Those who pass through this sieve will continue to work, and those who do not pass should be closed, ”Dmitry Medvedev said at the forum.

Three factors

It is assumed that the bill will be adopted in the spring session, the ministry said. In this case, organizations that are not included in the register of social service providers will have to issue a license for their activities starting from January 1, 2022. Those who are already on the register of social service providers will be eligible for a deferral.

– We offer shady business in this area to legalize before the licensing moment. If they enter the register before the beginning of next year, they will also be entitled to a grace period. Thus, we meet private traders halfway. Registry entry is not a license requirement. But serious requirements are imposed on such institutions, and they are subject to inspections carried out by Rostrud, – Olga Batalina specified.

According to her, the licensing requirements will be similar to those currently imposed on organizations in the register of social service providers. The main difference is that they will become mandatory. For example, in boarding schools, the number of specialists in various fields is regulated.

– If it is assumed that children with disabilities will live in the boarding school, it is necessary that a psychologist, teacher, and nurse work there. If an organization provides rehabilitation services, then there must be an agreement with the medical organization that carries it out. These requirements are already in the registry model, – said the Deputy Minister of Labor.

According to the developers of the concept, boarding schools will begin to leave the “gray zone” for three reasons. The first factor is that the market itself must react to this situation.

– We declare to citizens that only in licensed organizations the state is responsible for the quality of services. When I have a choice where to give my relative, I will focus on the organization for which the state gives guarantees, – said the head of the department of Rostrud Alexander Utolin.

The second factor is punishment for carrying out activities without a license.

– Now, if we find a “gray” organization on someone’s complaint, then the only thing we can do is to issue an order to “eliminate the violation.” When licensed, in this case, the Administrative and Criminal Codes come into effect. In case of accidents, very harsh punishments are provided here, he noted.

The third factor is material. Upon obtaining a license for social services, a commercial organization is exempt from income tax (now it is 20%), said the head of the department of Rostrud. All social service organizations are eligible for this tax credit, but many orphanages in the “gray zone” are not now.

Dot or ellipsis?

The Ministry of Labor expects that the adoption of such a bill will put an end to the issue with the “gray zone” of boarding schools.

– The “white” market will receive benefits, tax benefits. It will be able to take advantage of support measures for the construction of new boarding schools in the form of subsidized interest rates on loans, this will provide opportunities for development. The “gray market” will be held accountable for work without a license, it will lose the confidence of citizens, which means the ability to find new clients, the department believes.

Experts estimate the number of people in need of accommodation in the boarding school at four million, Yevgeny Yakushev, chairman of the National Council of the Association of Social Service Participants, told Izvestia. Therefore, the issue of licensing is relevant.

– Russia is getting old. The more elderly people in the country, the more diseases associated with this age, which often lead to problems with self-care, he said. – The need for private organizations is great. And the “gray” market in the private sector that we see now is the answer to the shortage of public beds. Therefore, it is necessary to create the rules of the game that will allow private investors to build modern infrastructure.

It is necessary to regulate the quality of work of private institutions, agrees Alexey Sidnev, head of the Senior Group’s geriatric care and rehabilitation centers, but it is important not to kill the business.

– If you make the licensing mechanism too complicated, medium-sized nursing homes (up to 10 guests) can go even further into the shadows, – the expert noted. – But as a result of licensing, the situation of people cannot be allowed to become worse. Small institutions are often located in villages; local residents need them. It would be possible, for example, to think over a special transition mechanism for them. Because if organizations, in order to avoid closure, will come up with legal ways to bypass licensing, we will get a non-working bill like a voluntary registry.

Nowadays, emergency situations in institutions providing social services happen with sad constancy. The last high-profile case occurred on the night of December 14-15, 2020 in the village of Ishbuldino in Bashkortostan. Then, 11 people died in a fire in a nursing home. Earlier, in May 2020, as a result of a fire in the private nursing home “Second Home” in Krasnogorsk, nine elderly people died. And in April 2020, a fire broke out in Moscow in the private nursing home “Third Age”. Then the incident claimed the lives of five guests.

Yesterday in the Kalininsky district of Ufa, bailiffs suspended the activity of a nursing home at 21 Azovskaya Street. According to the FSSP RB, the shelter neglected the requirements for the safety of life and health of its guests. Among other things, fire safety rules were violated.

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