Rep. Stanley and Elder Affairs Committee Advance Key Improvements for Continuum of Care

Rep. Thomas M. Stanley and Sen. Patricia D. Jehlen, Co-Chairs of the Joint Committee on Elder Affairs, announced favorable committee reports on three key bills involving assisted living facilities, licensing of home care agencies and safety of home care workers.

“The pandemic laid bare serious problems and shortcomings in long term care to elder citizens.  We have the opportunity and responsibility to address these issues by enacting appropriate and, in some cases, long overdue legislation to remedy the problems,” said Rep. Stanley. “These three bills respond to the urgency to act now and ensure our long-term care and support systems meet the needs of older adults. We look forward to working with our colleagues in the House and Senate on advancing these bills as quickly as possible.”

“We’re taking important steps to strengthen the entire continuum of care,” said Sen. Jehlen.  “These bills will help older people and those with disabilities live safely and with dignity in the setting of their choice.”

Bills favorably reported out of Elder Affairs Committee:

An Act authorizing common sense health services in assisted living (S409/H753)

  • Establishes a core list of basic health services, expandable by regulation, for Assisted Living Residences (ALRs) to opt-in to:
    • application or replacement of simple non-sterile dressings
    • management of oxygen
    • application of ointments or drops
    • injections & monitoring (ex: insulin)
  • Provides standards for LPNs and on-call RNs as well as oversight by Executive Office of Elder Affairs (EOEA) and the Legislature
  • Codifies key principles of a Public Health Emergency Order to ensure continuity of care for residents
  • Reduces health costs for residents
  • Helps keep residents in the community and out of more expensive institutional settings

An Act to improve Massachusetts Home Care (H748/S419)

               Home Care Licensure: Breaks new ground by regulating entire Home Care Industry 

  • Sets definitions of Home Care Agency Worker and creates penalties for noncompliance
  • Provides consumer protections by requiring disclosure of services and rates, and sets standards of suitability through reporting
  • Creates transparency requirements for all Home Care businesses including requiring financial disclosures, background checks, standard services plans including rates and costs established by EOEA, and requirement for ongoing worker training in confidentiality, abuse reporting and infection control.
  • Guarantees appropriate levels of training and competency and well as liability insurance
  • Provides worker & anti-discrimination protections for home care workforce including Personal Care Attendants (PCAs)

An Act to strengthen emergency preparedness for home care workers (H756/S404 with H726)

  • Requires metrics to automatically trigger hazard pay for home health workers in the event of an emergency
  • Requires the Executive Office of Health and Humans Services (EOHHS) to develop and implement an infection control training program for home health workers as part of their employment training.
  • Mandates regular reporting by the Administration on the availability and quality of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
  • Improves the home care worker registry to ensure effective communication with workforce

The Elder Affairs Committee continues to develop Nursing Home legislation, extending the reporting date for 20 bills to May 16, 2022.  Topics of these priority bills include addressing job standards and quality of care, staffing ratios, strengthening laws to protect patients from abuse and neglect, right-sizing nursing facilities, and promoting innovation.