The state’s Social Services Commissioner joined Gov. Ned Lamont at The Caring Connection in Windsor Tuesday to highlight two new laws that provide more support to Connecticut’s senior citizens through adult day care services, nursing homes, and homemaker-companion agencies.
“Both bills signed will provide vital resources to our state’s seniors, and I am honored to have had a seat at the table when discussing these changes,” Reeves said, adding praise for the co-chairs of the legislature’s Aging Committee – state Rep. Jane Garibay and state Sen. Jan Hochadel – for their work.
HB 6677, now Public Act No. 23-30, will allow Reeves to come up with a plan to increase eligibility for adult day services under the Connecticut Home Care Program for Elders (CHCPE) and authorize Reeves to amend the Medicaid state plan to add the Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE). The PACE program provides medical and social services through providers.
Advocates say they hope those with early onset dementia will be helped by the new law as it requires the commissioner’s plan to include recommendations to lower the eligible age to participate in the program, as well as increase Medicaid reimbursement rates to adult day centers to offset costs they incur transporting clients.
HB 5781, now Public Act No. 23-48, includes several new requirements for nursing home reporting.
Under the new law, nursing homes must submit annual cost summaries to DSS. Those who do not comply may face a penalty of up to $10,000.
Among other requirements:
- Chronic and convalescent nursing homes that receive Medicaid funding must report, every year, a profit and loss statement from each related party that receives at least $30,000 of income from the home.
- Nursing home licensure applicants must disclose any private equity company or real estate investment trust that owns any part of the home and give DPH the owner’s audited and certified financial statements.
The legislation also requires managed residential communities to help establish family councils, and establishes a dementia services coordinator position at the state Department of Aging and Disability.
The law also introduces a new requirement regarding the involuntary transfer or discharge of a resident. In this case, nursing home staff must notify the Long-Term Care ombudsman on the same day the resident is notified about the transfer, otherwise it can’t be completed.
In addition to transferring the homemaker-companion agency oversight from the state Department of Consumer Protection to the state Department of Public Health (a timeline still needs to be established), the legislation includes several other requirements regarding homemaker-companion services including:
- Adding ‘failure to give a consumer written notice that the agency provides nonmedical care’ to a list of violations that can result in the revocation, suspension of an agency’s registration
- requires DCP to revoke a homemaker companion agency’s registration if the agency is found to have violated any revocable provisions three times in a calendar year.
- Requires homemaker-companion agencies to develop a service plan or contract in consultation with the consumer and to provide those consumers with a printed copy of a guide explaining the process for filing consumer complaints against the agency.
- Requires every homemaker-companion agency to create a brochure and maintain a website detailing the services it provides.