Resolved, SECTION 1. There shall be a special commission to investigate, analyze and study the health, housing, financial, psycho-social and long-term care needs of older lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) adults and their caregivers and to make recommendations to improve access to benefits and services where appropriate and necessary. The special commission shall consist of twenty members including the House and Senate chairs of the Joint Committee on Elder Affairs, or their designees, who shall serve as co-chairs; the secretary of elder affairs, or a designee; the secretary of housing and community development, or a designee; the commissioner of public health, or a designee; the director of the LGBT Aging Project, or a designee; the director of Fenway Health, or a designee; the executive director of GLAD, or a designee; a representative of the National Association of HIV Over Fifty; the executive director of MassEquality or a designee; the executive director of the Massachusetts Home Care Association, or a designee; the director of AARP Massachusetts, or a designee; the executive director of the Massachusetts Association of Councils on Aging Inc., or a designee; the director of the Massachusetts Nursing Home Federation, or a designee; the director of the Massachusetts Council of Home Care Aides, or a designee; and five members appointed by the governor, one of whom shall be a member of the Massachusetts bar who practices elder law; one of whom shall be an expert in LGBT public policy or research; and three LGBT elders, at least one of whom shall be transgender. The Governor’s appointees shall insure at least one representative is from Cape Cod, as well as the western and central portions of the state.
The commission shall also examine the impact of state policies and regulations on LGBT older adults and make recommendations to ensure equality of access, treatment, care and benefits. The commission shall examine strategies to increase provider awareness of the needs of LGBT older adults and their caregivers and to improve the competence of and access to treatment, services and on-going care, including preventive care. The commission shall assess the funding and programming needed to enhance services to the growing population of LGBT older adults and to examine best practices for increasing access, reducing isolation, preventing abuse and exploitation, promoting independence and self-determination, strengthening caregiving, eliminating disparities, and improving quality of life.
In particular, the commission shall examine the extent to which policies and practices, or the absence thereof, promote the premature admission of LGBT older adults to institutional care and to recommend, as appropriate and necessary, lower-cost and culturally appropriate home and community-based alternatives. The commission shall also examine the feasibility of developing statewide training curricula to improve provider competency in the delivery of health, housing and long-term support services to older LGBTs and their caregivers, as well as outreach protocols to reduce apprehension among LGBT elders and caregivers of mainstream providers. The commission, in formulating its recommendations, shall take into account the best policies and practices in other states and jurisdictions. The commission shall be empowered to hold regular public meetings, fact-finding hearings and other public forums as it considers necessary. The commission shall file its recommendations, together with recommendations for legislation, if any, with the clerks of the House of Representatives and Senate within 12 months of the first convening of the commission.
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