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The 192nd General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

AN ACT ESTABLISHING A SPECIAL COMMISSION TO EXAMINE THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH’S NURSING HOME LICENSURE PROCESS AND REQUIREMENTS.

Whereas, The deferred operation of this act would tend to defeat its purpose, which is to establish forthwith a special commission to examine the department of public health’s nursing home licensure process and requirements, therefore it is hereby declared to be an emergency law, necessary for the immediate preservation of the public convenience.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:

SECTION 1.  (a) There shall be a special commission to examine the department of public health’s nursing home licensure process and requirements. The commission shall consist of the following 15 members: the commissioner of public health, or a designee, who shall serve as chair; the chairs of the joint committee of public health; the chairs of the joint committee on elder affairs; the secretary of elder affairs, or a designee; the secretary of health and human services, or a designee; the assistant secretary for MassHealth, or a designee; and 7 persons to be appointed by the governor, 1 of whom shall be a representative of the Massachusetts Senior Care Association, Inc., 1 of whom shall be a representative of LeadingAge Massachusetts, Inc., 1 of whom shall be a representative of Massachusetts Association of Residential Care Homes, Inc., 1 of whom shall be a representative of the Massachusetts Senior Action Council, Inc., 1 of whom shall be a representative of 1199 SEIU United Health Care Workers East, 1 of whom shall be a representative of the Massachusetts chapter of AARP and 1 of whom shall be an expert on long-term care and aging policy. In making appointments, the governor shall, to the maximum extent feasible, ensure that the commission represents a broad distribution of diverse perspectives and geographic regions throughout the commonwealth.

(b)  The commission shall review current licensure requirements for nursing homes in the commonwealth, current licensure practices for other healthcare industries in the commonwealth and successful nursing home licensure programs in other states and best practices. The commission shall make recommendations to modify nursing home licensure requirements including, but not limited to: (i) strengthening suitability review; (ii) improving processes for review of new owners; and (iii) increasing transparency of the department of public health’s licensure and suitability determination process. The commission shall make recommendations based on successful licensure programs in other healthcare industries in the commonwealth and other successful licensing programs in other states.

(c)  The commission shall hold not less than 3 public meetings in different geographic regions throughout the commonwealth and solicit feedback from various stakeholders.

(d)  Not later than October 1, 2023, the commission shall submit a report and recommendations, if any, together with drafts of legislation necessary to carry those recommendations into effect by filing the same with the clerks of the house of representatives and the senate, the house and senate committees on ways and means and the joint committee on public health.

 

SECTION 2.  This act shall take effect as of July 1, 2021.

Approved, August 3, 2021