OLR Bill Analysis
AN ACT CONCERNING THE USE OF RESPECTFUL AND PERSON-FIRST LANGUAGE.
This bill generally updates terminology to use “person first” language in various statutes relating to older adults and individuals with disabilities. Among other things, it substitutes the terms “person with disabilities” for “handicapped person,” “deaf and hard of hearing” for “hearing impaired,” and “older person” for “elderly person.” (The bill does not update these terms consistently.)
Additionally, the bill:
1. removes the prohibition on certain older persons, disabled veterans, and individuals with disabilities working extended hours in manufacturing, mechanical, or mercantile establishments, restaurants, and various other settings (§§ 72-74);
2. modifies the conditions under which the Department of Public Health (DPH) may purchase certain medical equipment for children with disabilities without going through the state's normal purchasing procedures (§ 64);
3. adds a statutory definition for “supervision” pertaining to licensed occupational therapists who oversee the work of occupational therapy assistants (§ 66);
4. designates the month, instead of the first week, of each October as “Disability Employment Awareness Month” (§ 76);
5. renames the “Commission on the Deaf and Hearing Impaired” the “Advisory Board for Persons who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing” (§§ 88-89);
6. renames the “Board of Education and Services for the Blind” the “Advisory Board for Persons with Blindness or Visual Impairment” (§§ 18-21); and
7. removes obsolete provisions (a) requiring the aging and social services departments to report on alternative funding sources for elderly nutrition programs by October 1, 2016 and (b) transferring certain funds and responsibilities between the two departments in 2013 (when the aging department was re-established (§§ 46 & 48)).
The bill also makes several technical and conforming changes.
EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2017
§§ 72-74 — EXTENDED WORK HOURS FOR OLDER ADULTS AND PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES
The bill removes the prohibition on employees working extended hours without their consent in manufacturing, mechanical, or mercantile establishments; restaurants; and various other settings if they are:
1. age 66 or older,
2. designated by a medical or government authority as handicapped, or
3. a disabled veteran.
Current law subjects the above individuals to the following work hour limits:
1. for manufacturing or mechanical establishments, no more than nine hours per day or 48 hours per week;
2. for mercantile establishments, no more than eight hours per day, six days per week, or 48 hours per week; and
3. for restaurants, recreational establishments, and various other settings, no more than 10 hours per day, six days per week, or 48 hours per week.
Under current law, handicapped persons and disabled veterans who consent to working hours that exceed these limits must also provide written certification from a licensed physician or advanced practice registered nurse that doing so will not injure their health.
The bill retains the extended work hour limits for individuals under age 18 who are not enrolled in a secondary education institution (e.g., high school). Existing law, unchanged by the bill, generally applies stricter limits to individuals under age 18 who are enrolled in such an institution.
§ 64 — DPH EQUIPMENT PURCHASES FOR CHILDREN WITH DISABILITIES
Current law allows DPH to purchase, within available appropriations, wheelchairs and placement equipment for children with disabilities without going through the Department of Administrative Services' normal purchasing procedures, provided (1) the cost of an individual item does not exceed $6,500 and (2) purchases are made on the open market and, when possible, through competitive bidding.
The bill instead allows DPH, or the department's contractor, to purchase medically necessary and appropriate durable medical equipment and other DPH-approved goods and services. Services must be identical to those goods and services covered under the state's Medicaid and HUSKY programs and payment cannot exceed the current Medicaid payment rate for these goods and services.
§ 66 — OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY ASSISTANTS
By law, an occupational therapy assistant must be licensed to assist in the practice of occupational therapy under a licensed occupational therapist's supervision or consultation. The bill defines “supervision” as a licensed occupational therapist overseeing or participating in an occupational therapy assistant's work. It includes:
1. continuous availability of direct communication between the occupational therapist and occupational therapy assistant;
2. availability of a licensed occupational therapist on a regularly scheduled basis to review the occupational therapy assistant's practice and support his or her service; and
3. a predetermined plan for emergency situations, including designating an alternate licensed occupational therapist when the usual one is absent.
Public Health Committee