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The 192nd General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Section 71: Commission on older lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender adults and their caregivers

Section 71. (a) There shall be a permanent commission on older lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, or LGBT, adults and their caregivers to consist of the following members or their designees: the house and senate chairs of the joint committee on elder affairs who shall serve as co-chairs; the secretary of elder affairs; the director of housing and community development; the commissioner of public health; the director of the LGBT Aging Project; the president of Fenway Health; the executive director of the Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, Inc.; a representative of the National Association on HIV Over Fifty, Inc.; the executive director of MassEquality; the executive director of Mass Home Care; the director of AARP Massachusetts; the executive director of the Massachusetts Association of Councils on Aging, Inc.; the director of the Massachusetts Senior Care Association, Inc.; the director of the Home Care Aides Council; and 5 members to be appointed by the governor, 1 of whom shall be a member of the Massachusetts bar who practices elder law, 1 of whom shall be an expert in LGBT public policy or research and 3 LGBT elders, at least 1 of whom shall be transgender. The governor's appointees shall ensure that the commission has at least 1 representative from each of the following areas: Cape Cod, western Massachusetts and central Massachusetts.

(b) The commission shall investigate, analyze and study the health, housing, financial, psychosocial and long-term care needs of older LGBT adults and their caregivers and shall make recommendations to improve access to benefits and services where appropriate and necessary. In furtherance of its duties, the commission shall: (i) examine the impact of the commonwealth's policies and regulations on older LGBT adults and make recommendations to ensure equality of access, treatment, care and benefits; (ii) examine strategies to increase provider awareness of the needs of older LGBT adults and their caregivers and improve the competence of and access to treatment, services and ongoing care, including preventive care; (iii) assess the funding and programming needed to enhance services to the growing population of older LGBT adults; (iv) 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; (v) examine whether certain policies and practices, or the absence of certain policies and practice, promote the premature admission of older LGBT adults to institutional care; (vi) recommend, as appropriate and necessary, lower cost and culturally appropriate home and community-based alternatives to institutional care; (vii) 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 LGBT adults and their caregivers; and (viii) examine outreach protocols to reduce apprehension among older LGBT adults and their caregivers of utilizing mainstream providers.

(c) The commission, in formulating its recommendations, shall take into account the best policies and practices in other states and jurisdictions. The commission may hold regular public meetings, fact-finding hearings and other public forums as it considers necessary.

(d) The commission may accept and solicit funds, including any gifts, donations, grants or bequests or any federal funds to further the purposes of this section. These funds shall be deposited in a separate account with the state treasurer, shall be received by the treasurer on behalf of the commonwealth and shall be expended by the commission in accordance with law.

(e) The commission shall submit a report on its activities and findings, including any recommendations, to the governor, the clerks of the house of representatives and the senate and the house and senate chairs of the joint committee on elder affairs and shall file at least 1 report by December 31 in the even-numbered years.