SECTION 1. The Executive Office of Elder Affairs, under authority granted in Section 4 of MGL Chapter 19A, shall amend the Massachusetts Home Care regulations (651 CMR 3.00). Such amendment shall require that home care aide agencies contracting with Aging Service Access Points to provide homemaker and personal care services through the Massachusetts Home Care program submit comprehensive annual cost reports. Such annual cost reports shall be created by the Executive Office of Elder Affairs and that include a full accounting of annual costs for supplies, labor, administrative, and other categories as deemed appropriate; and
SECTION 2. The Office of the Attorney General, under authority granted under in Section 11N of Chapter 12 of the General Laws to monitor trends in the health care market, may investigate any home care aide agency contracting with Aging Service Access Points to provide homemaker and personal care services through the Massachusetts Home Care program. Further, the attorney general may require that any such agency produce documents, answer interrogatories and provide testimony under oath. Nothing in this section shall limit the authority of the attorney general to regulate home care providers or protect home care consumers under any other law.
SECTION 3. Chapter 111 of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after Section 57D, the following new section:
(A) The department shall, after a public hearing, promulgate rules and regulations for the licensing and conduct of home care aid agencies. A home care aide agency means any business, non-profit or other entity seeking to contract to provide homemaker, personal care homemaker, or home health services in the Commonwealth, whether or not such entity is currently providing such services. Each such home care aid agency shall be required to obtain a service license under a new process to be newly established by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, in consultation with the Executive Office of Elder Affairs.
(B) Such license process shall require that, in a license and authority to provide such services, an application must be filed with the Department of Public Health in which the applicant shall specify the types of home care or home health services to be offered by the provider as well as the following:
1) expected service area, including municipality and county names; and
2) an ongoing quality assurance program that includes compliance with all applicable federal and state quality of care standards; and
3) written assurance that it will fully comply with all cost reporting and minimum average employee compensation standards established by state law; and
4) other requirements as determined by the department.
(C) An appropriate fee structure as necessary to administer this licensure program shall be determined by the department.
SECTION 4. Subsection 72J of chapter 111 of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting the following new subsection (b):
(b) As used in this subsection, the following terms shall have the following meanings:
"Home Care Worker" means any person employed by a home care aide agency to provide home health, homemaker, personal care, companion and chore services.
"Home Care Aide Agency" means an entity providing designated and approved home care program services under contract with an Aging Services Access Point as defined in M.G.L. c. 19A 4B.
"Home Care Worker Registry" means the registry established under this subsection.
The department, subject to appropriation and in consultation with the Executive Office of Elder Affairs, shall establish a new home care worker registry of all individuals currently employed by a home care aide agency. A home care aide agency shall only hire or employ on a paid, unpaid, temporary or permanent basis, a home care worker who is listed in said registry as having completed all required certifications and trainings.
The registry shall also contain specific documented findings, in accordance with this subsection, by any Executive Office of Health and Human Services department of patient or resident abuse, mistreatment, neglect or misappropriation of patient or resident property involving an individual listed on the registry. All home care aide agencies shall contact the registry prior to hiring an employee to ascertain if there is a finding of patient or resident abuse, mistreatment, neglect or misappropriation of patient or resident property. In the case of inquiries to the registry, any information disclosed concerning a finding of patient or resident abuse, mistreatment, neglect or misappropriation of patient or resident property shall also include a disclosure of any statement in the registry relating to the finding or a clear and accurate summary of any such statement. No home care aide agency shall hire an individual whose name appears in the registry with an adjudicated finding of patient or resident abuse, mistreatment, neglect or misappropriation of patient or resident property if that individual is under a suspension imposed by the department under the terms of this section.
The department shall make a finding as to the accuracy of allegations of patient or resident abuse, mistreatment, neglect or misappropriation of patient or resident property after providing notice to the home care worker of the allegation and a reasonable opportunity for a hearing for the individual to rebut such allegations. If the department finds that a home care worker abused, mistreated or neglected a patient or resident or misappropriated patient or resident property, the department shall notify the home care worker and the home care aide agency of that finding. The department shall not make a finding that an individual has neglected a patient or resident if the individual demonstrates that such neglect was caused by factors beyond the control of the individual. Upon making a finding of patient or resident abuse, mistreatment, neglect or misappropriation of patient or resident property, the department may suspend the right of such individual to work as a home care worker. The department shall include the terms of any such suspension in the registry and no home care aide agency shall hire that individual until the suspension has been served to its completion.
If the individual is charged with and convicted of a crime arising out of a report of abuse, the department shall permanently suspend the individual’s ability to work as a home care worker; provided, however, that if an individual’s finding of guilt is overturned on appeal, the individual may appeal to the department to overturn the suspension. If a case is continued without a finding, the department may permanently suspend an individual’s ability to work as a home care worker and shall make such a finding on the record to that effect after notice to that individual and an opportunity to appeal; provided, however, that a case continued without a finding shall appear in the registry as part of the registrant’s record for not less than the length of probation or sanction imposed on the individual by the court.
A home care worker who is subject to a temporary or permanent suspension shall not offer services, whether publicly or privately funded, as a caregiver or in another direct service capacity to persons with a physical, intellectual or developmental disability, a mental illness or to children or elderly persons. An individual in violation of this paragraph shall be subject to a fine of not more than $5,000.”
The home care worker registry shall include, but not be limited to, the following information concerning each home care worker: (1) Full legal name; (2) Current home address; (3) Gender; (4) Date of birth; (5) Employers full legal name; (6) Job Title and (7) An updated list of home care trainings and/or certifications completed by the home care worker.
The department shall require the registry information for each employed home care worker to be submitted and regularly updated by each home care aide agency subject to the provisions of this subsection. A home care aide agency shall collect and maintain the required information for each employed home care worker and shall promptly submit updated information whenever such information changes. No charges shall be imposed on any person or entity for any costs related to the registry.
Persons employed as a home care worker by a home care aide agency on the effective date of this section shall be registered as soon as practicable, but not later than six months after the effective date of this statute. The registry shall be updated at least quarterly.
The registry shall be sufficiently and promptly accessible to meet the needs of the public. Upon request, information in the home care worker registry shall be made available to the public, including but not limited to home care workers and home care aide agencies. The department shall include security mechanisms in the registry to implement and maintain a record of accessing or obtaining information from the registry.
The department shall make any such additional rules and regulations as are reasonably necessary to implement the provisions of this subsection.
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