The Joint Committee on Elder Affairs Holds Hearing on Assisted Living, Continuing Care Retirement Communities, Home Care, and Community-Based Services

(BOSTON) – The Joint Committee on Elder Affairs, chaired by Senator Patricia Jehlen (D-Somerville) and Representative Thomas M. Stanley (D-Waltham), held a hearing on a variety of proposals that would improve long-term services and supports for seniors along the continuum of care.

“From ensuring that people diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s receive the services they need, to training in infection control for PCAs and home care agencies, the committee heard many important proposals today that would improve services and quality of life for our aging population.” Rep. Stanley said. “I thank the advocates and members of the public for their testimony and look forward to working with them and my colleagues on the Committee on these bills in the coming the weeks and months to come.”

“Much of today’s testimony only reinforced the need to continue strengthening the continuum of care and supports we offer to those who would benefit greatly from a variety of high-quality housing and service options,” said Senator Jehlen. “As co-chair of the Joint Committee of Elder Affairs for numerous sessions, I appreciate the currently high level of focus and collaboration on these important issues.”

“I was glad to participate in today’s hearing, marking the culmination of our scheduled hearings for the session,” said Vice Chair Kate Lipper-Garabedian. “As always, it was compelling to hear firsthand from individuals and families about the positive impact certain legislation would have as we consider these proposals to improve the quality of life for seniors.”

H612: An Act relative to social card games at municipal senior centers would allow for limited betting during social card games at senior centers. Recently, the state lottery issued an edict stating that it’s illegal to gamble at senior centers, regardless of the amount being gambled.

H614: An Act relative to early-onset Alzheimer’s disease would require that the MassHealth Frail Elder Home and Community-Based Services Waiver be made available to those with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. Currently, patients must be 60 years old or older to qualify for the waiver, leaving out those who are diagnosed with the disease below the age threshold.

H617/S387: An Act protecting the rights of assisted living residents would require that landlord-tenant laws apply to residents of assisted living residences. It would also require that the MA consumer protection statute apply to assisted living residents.

H630/S370: An Act relative to intensive care management for clinically complex older adults would require that the home care program provide intensive care management for clinically complex older adults.

H634/S385: An Act relative to expanding the availability of personal care homes for older adults would establish a new care setting known as personal care homes. Personal care homes provide

residential settings for adults who require supervision or assistance with activities of daily living and qualify for the State Home Care Program. The homes will house no more than 6 adults and will provide food, shelter and personal assistance or supervision.

H635/S386: An Act relative to disclosing continuing care retirement community entrance fees would require that providers will give every prospective resident of a continuing care retirement community of the entrance fee and how it will be refunded to them.

H636/S365: An Act relative to LGBT and HIV-positive seniors in the commonwealth would ensure that when the Executive Office of Elder Affairs determines “greatest social need” racial and ethnic status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression and/or HIV status would be included. This will ensure that these groups receive the services they need.

H639/S367: An Act increasing awareness of community-based PACE programs for older adults would require that the Executive Office of Elder Affairs provide information about the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) to seniors. PACE provides comprehensive medical and social services to certain elders, most of whom are dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid benefits.

H640/S397: An Act to improve infection control in Massachusetts home care would mandate that the Executive Office of Health and Human Services develop and implement a mandatory infection control training program for all new and incumbent personal care attendants and employees of home care agencies.

The June 26th hearing was Chaired by Sen. Jehlen and Co-Chaired by Rep. Stanley.