The Taipei City Government is to establish a contact point for people to report suspected illegal long-term care facilities after a fire on Tuesday killed three people, officials said yesterday.
Taipei Deputy Mayor Vivian Huang (黃珊珊) said that the city would set up a one-stop service contact point to receive reports on suspected illegal facilities, and also establish a standard operating procedure for the health, social welfare and police departments to hold joint inspections of reported cases.
If inspectors do not find anyone home at a reported property three times, they can ask police to make routine spot checks or even forcibly enter the facility to inspect it, if its owner is unwilling to cooperate, as permitted under the Administrative Enforcement Act (行政執行法), Huang said.
Since the fire at an illegal facility in the city’s Neihu District (內湖), the city government has checked for other unregistered long-term care facilities, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said.
The warden of Ziyun Borough (紫雲), where the house is located, had twice last year contacted the city to ask if it was a legal facility, but a health department inspector, accompanied by the borough warden and police, received no response when they visited the property in September last year, and there was no follow-up on the matter.
The city government on Friday received a tip of another suspected illegal long-term care facility, and the health and social welfare department conducted a joint inspection, finding that the facility was unregistered, but charging clients for services, Ko said.
This property, also in Neihu, had four residents living in it, two of whom had physical disabilities, Taipei Department of Health Commissioner Huang Shier-chieg (黃世傑) said.
Three of the residents were taken to a hospital for health examinations and moved to a legal care facility by the Taipei Department of Social Welfare, while the other resident was taken home by family members, he said.
Taipei Social Welfare Department Director-General Chou Yu-hsiu (周榆修) said that the residents were not low or middle-low-income senior citizens and they have family, so the department would discuss their care responsibilities and plans with their families.
The city government urges families of people who need care services to place them in legal care facilities, and if they face difficulties in placing them in legal facilities, they can contact the Department of Social Welfare for assistance, Vivian Huang said.
After the Long-Term Care Services Act (長期照顧服務法) was promulgated, standards for establishing legal care facilities became stricter, so many “went underground,” which is a problem that must be solved, Ko said.
The city government has publicized all the legally registered long-care facilities on the Department of Social Welfare’s Web site, he added.
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