Section 224. There shall be a commission on falls preventions within the department. The commission shall consist of the commissioner of public health or the commissioner's designee, who shall chair the commission; the secretary of elder affairs or the secretary's designee; the director of MassHealth or the director's designee; and 10 members to be appointed by the governor, 1 of whom shall be a member of the Home Care Alliance of Massachusetts, Inc., 1 of whom shall be a member of the AARP, 1 of whom shall be a member of the Massachusetts Senior Care Association, Inc., 1 of whom shall be a member of the Massachusetts Association of Councils on Aging, Inc., 1 of whom shall be a member of the Massachusetts Medical Society Alliance, Inc., 1 of whom shall be a member of the Massachusetts Assisted Living Facilities Association, 1 of whom shall be a member of Mass Home Care, 1 of whom shall be a member of the American Physical Therapy Association of Massachusetts, 1 of whom shall be a member of the Massachusetts Association for Occupational Therapy and 1 of whom shall be a member of the Massachusetts Pharmacists Association Foundation, Inc.
The commission on falls prevention shall make an investigation and comprehensive study of the effects of falls on older adults and the potential for reducing the number of falls by older adults. The commission shall monitor the effects of falls by older adults on health care costs, the potential for reducing the number of falls by older adults and the most effective strategies for reducing falls and health care costs associated with falls. The commission shall:
(1) consider strategies to improve data collection and analysis to identify fall risk, health care cost data and protective factors;
(2) consider strategies to improve the identification of older adults who have a high risk of falling;
(3) consider strategies to maximize the dissemination of proven, effective fall prevention interventions and identify barriers to those interventions;
(4) assess the risk and measure the incidence of falls occurring in various settings;
(5) identify evidence-based strategies used by long-term care providers to reduce the rate of falls among older adults and reduce the rate of hospitalizations related to such falls;
(6) identify evidence-based community programs designed to prevent falls among older adults;
(7) review falls prevention initiatives for community-based settings; and
(8) examine the components and key elements of the above falls prevention initiatives, consider their applicability in the commonwealth and develop strategies for pilot testing, implementation and evaluation.
The commission on falls prevention shall submit to the secretary of health and human services and the joint committee on health care financing, not later than September 22, annually, a report that includes findings from the commission's review along with recommendations and any suggested legislation to implement those recommendations. The report shall include recommendations for:
(1) intervention approaches, including physical activity, medication assessment and reduction of medication when possible, vision enhancement and home-modification strategies;
(2) strategies that promote collaboration between the medical community, including physicians, long-term care providers and pharmacists to reduce the rate of falls among their patients;
(3) programs that are targeted to fall victims who are at a high risk for second falls and that are designed to maximize independence and quality of life for older adults, particularly those older adults with functional limitations;
(4) programs that encourage partnerships to prevent falls among older adults and prevent or reduce injuries when falls occur; and
(5) programs to encourage long-term care providers to implement falls- prevention strategies which use specific interventions to help all patients avoid the risks for falling in an effort to reduce hospitalizations and prolong a high quality of life.