Section 17. There shall be an advisory council on quality of care in nursing homes to consist of the commissioner of public health, the commissioner of medical assistance, the secretary of elder affairs, the director of the Commonwealth Corporation and 11 persons to be appointed by the governor, 2 of whom shall be representatives of the nursing home industry, 2 of whom shall be direct care workers who are certified as nurse's aides, 1 of whom shall be a registered nurse, 1 of whom shall be a licensed practical nurse, 1 of whom shall be a member of a consumer advocacy organization, 1 of whom shall be a nursing home ombudsman, 1 of whom shall be an expert in labor recruitment and issues relative to the health care workforce, 1 of whom shall be a representative of a labor organization representing nursing home direct care workers recommended by the president of the Massachusetts AFL-CIO and 1 of whom shall be a family member of a nursing home resident.
The duties of the advisory council shall consist of the following:
(a) to propose regulations to the department of public health establishing appropriate staffing levels for long-term care facilities to ensure quality of care for residents. In developing such regulations, the council shall consider the staffing ratios recommended by the National Citizens' Coalition for Nursing Home Reform and staffing levels established in other states;
(b) to evaluate, annually, the required minimum staffing levels for nursing and ancillary nursing personnel set forth in department of public health's long-term care facility regulations and to make recommendations to ensure adequate staffing;
(c) to submit a report, annually, to the governor and file a copy of the report with the state secretary, the clerks of the senate and house of representatives reflecting any legislative, budgetary and policy recommendations necessary to support and improve quality of care in nursing homes; and
(d) to study the status of the healthcare workforce in the commonwealth and develop legislative, budgetary and policy recommendations on labor recruitment and retention, including workforce development, compensation and benefits for staff of long term-care facilities. In developing such recommendations, the council shall consult with individuals and organizations with expertise in the area of labor recruitment and workforce issues.
Members of the council shall choose the chairperson of the council. The council shall meet at least 4 times each year and shall convene special meetings at the call of the chairperson, a majority of the members of the council or the commissioner of public health. Members of the council shall be appointed for terms of 2 years and no member shall be appointed to serve more than 2 consecutive terms. Upon the expiration of the term of an appointed member, a successor shall be appointed in like manner for a term of 2 years. Members of the council shall serve without compensation but shall be reimbursed, subject to appropriation, for expenses actually and necessarily incurred in the discharge of their duties.