Section 1. There shall be a department of elder affairs, in this chapter called the department, which shall be under the supervision and control of a secretary of elder affairs, hereinafter called the secretary. The secretary shall be appointed by and serve at the pleasure of the governor. In the event of a vacancy in the office of the secretary, or in the secretary's absence or disability, as determined by the governor, the governor shall designate an assistant secretary of elder affairs to serve as secretary until the vacancy is filled, or until the absence or disability ceases, as determined by the governor, and the assistant secretary so designated shall have all the powers and duties of the secretary. The secretary shall devote his full time to the duties of his office.
The secretary shall be the executive and administrative head of the department and shall be responsible for administering and enforcing the provisions of law relative to the department and each administrative unit thereof.
The secretary shall administer chapter 118E relative to medical care and assistance to eligible persons age 65 and older except for acute care services as defined by the secretary of health and human services. The secretary shall be responsible for administering and coordinating a comprehensive system of long-term care benefits and services for elderly persons, including institutional, home-based and community-based care and services.