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Senate Bill No. 762

Public Act No. 17-34

AN ACT CLARIFYING THE ROLE OF THE OFFICE OF THE LONG-TERM CARE OMBUDSMAN IN THE MANDATED REPORTING OF ABUSE OF ELDERLY PERSONS AND DELETING OBSOLETE STATUTORY PROVISIONS.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Subsection (a) of section 17b-451 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

(a) A mandatory reporter, as defined in this section, who has reasonable cause to suspect or believe that any elderly person has been abused, neglected, exploited or abandoned, or is in a condition that is the result of such abuse, neglect, exploitation or abandonment, or is in need of protective services, shall, not later than seventy-two hours after such suspicion or belief arose, report such information or cause a report to be made in any reasonable manner to the Commissioner of Social Services or to the person or persons designated by the commissioner to receive such reports. The term "mandatory reporter" means (1) any physician or surgeon licensed under the provisions of chapter 370, (2) any resident physician or intern in any hospital in this state, whether or not so licensed, (3) any registered nurse, (4) any nursing home administrator, nurse's aide or orderly in a nursing home facility or residential care home, (5) any person paid for caring for a [patient] resident in a nursing home facility or residential care home, (6) any staff person employed by a nursing home facility or residential care home, (7) any [patients' advocate] residents' advocate, other than a representative of the Office of the Long Term-Care Ombudsman, as defined in section 17a-405, including the State Ombudsman, (8) any licensed practical nurse, medical examiner, dentist, optometrist, chiropractor, podiatrist, social worker, clergyman, police officer, pharmacist, psychologist or physical therapist, (9) any person paid for caring for an elderly person by any institution, organization, agency or facility, including without limitation, any employee of a community-based services provider, senior center, home care agency, homemaker and companion agency, adult day care center, village-model community and congregate housing facility, and (10) any person licensed or certified as an emergency medical services provider pursuant to chapter 368d or chapter 384d, including any such emergency medical services provider who is a member of a municipal fire department. Any mandatory reporter who fails to make such report within the prescribed time period shall be fined not more than five hundred dollars, except that, if such person intentionally fails to make such report within the prescribed time period, such person shall be guilty of a class C misdemeanor for the first offense and a class A misdemeanor for any subsequent offense. Any institution, organization, agency or facility employing individuals to care for persons sixty years of age or older shall provide mandatory training on detecting potential abuse, neglect, exploitation and abandonment of such persons and inform such employees of their obligations under this section. For purposes of this subsection, "person paid for caring for an elderly person by any institution, organization, agency or facility" includes an employee of a community-based services provider, senior center, home health care agency, homemaker and companion agency, adult day care center, village-model community and congregate housing facility.

Sec. 2. Section 17a-301a of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

(a) Effective January 1, 2013, there shall be established a Department on Aging that shall be under the direction and supervision of the Commissioner on Aging who shall be appointed by the Governor in accordance with the provisions of sections 4-5 to 4-8, inclusive, with the powers and duties prescribed in said sections. The commissioner shall be knowledgeable and experienced with respect to the conditions and needs of elderly persons and shall serve on a full-time basis.

(b) The Commissioner on Aging shall administer all laws under the jurisdiction of the Department on Aging and shall employ the most efficient and practical means for the provision of care and protection of elderly persons. The commissioner shall have the power and duty to do the following: (1) Administer, coordinate and direct the operation of the department; (2) adopt and enforce regulations, in accordance with chapter 54, as necessary to implement the purposes of the department as established by statute; (3) establish rules for the internal operation and administration of the department; (4) establish and develop programs and administer services to achieve the purposes of the department; (5) contract for facilities, services and programs to implement the purposes of the department; (6) act as advocate for necessary additional comprehensive and coordinated programs for elderly persons; (7) assist and advise all appropriate state, federal, local and area planning agencies for elderly persons in the performance of their functions and duties pursuant to federal law and regulation; (8) plan services and programs for elderly persons; (9) coordinate outreach activities by public and private agencies serving elderly persons; and (10) consult and cooperate with area and private planning agencies.

(c) The Department on Aging is designated as the State Unit on Aging to administer, manage, design and advocate for benefits, programs and services for the elderly and their families pursuant to the Older Americans Act. The department shall study continuously the conditions and needs of elderly persons in this state in relation to nutrition, transportation, home care, housing, income, employment, health, recreation and other matters. The department shall be responsible, in cooperation with federal, state, local and area planning agencies on aging, for the overall planning, development and administration of a comprehensive and integrated social service delivery system for elderly persons. The department shall: (1) Measure the need for services; (2) survey methods of administration of programs for service delivery; (3) provide for periodic evaluations of social services; (4) maintain technical, information, consultation and referral services in cooperation with other state agencies to local and area public and private agencies to the fullest extent possible; (5) develop and coordinate educational outreach programs for the purposes of informing the public and elderly persons of available programs; (6) cooperate in the development of performance standards for licensing of residential and medical facilities with appropriate state agencies; (7) supervise the establishment, in selected areas and local communities of the state, of pilot programs for elderly persons; (8) coordinate with the Department of Transportation to provide adequate transportation services related to the needs of elderly persons; and (9) cooperate with other state agencies to provide adequate and alternate housing for elderly persons, including congregate housing, as defined in section 8-119e.

(d) The functions, powers, duties and personnel of the Division of Aging Services of the Department of Social Services, or any subsequent division or portion of a division with similar functions, powers, personnel and duties, shall be transferred to the Department on Aging pursuant to the provisions of sections 4-38d, 4-38e and 4-39.

[(e) The Department of Social Services shall administer programs under the jurisdiction of the Department on Aging until the Commissioner on Aging is appointed and administrative staff are hired.

(f) The Governor may, with the approval of the Finance Advisory Committee, transfer funds between the Department of Social Services and the Department on Aging pursuant to subsection (b) of section 4-87 during the fiscal year ending June 30, 2013.]

[(g)] (e) Any order or regulation of the Department of Social Services or the former Commission on Aging that is in force on January 1, 2013, shall continue in force and effect as an order or regulation until amended, repealed or superseded pursuant to law.

Sec. 3. Section 17a-302a of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

[(a)] The Department on Aging and the Department of Social Services shall hold quarterly meetings with nutrition service stakeholders to (1) develop recommendations to address complexities in the administrative processes of nutrition services programs, (2) establish quality control benchmarks in such programs, and (3) help move toward greater quality, efficiency and transparency in the elderly nutrition program. Stakeholders shall include, but need not be limited to, (A) one representative of each of the following: (i) Area agencies on aging, (ii) access agencies, (iii) the Commission on Women, Children and Seniors, and (iv) nutrition providers, and (B) one or more representatives of (i) food security programs, (ii) contractors, (iii) nutrition host sites, and (iv) consumers.

[(b) The departments and stakeholders shall study alternative sources of funding for nutrition services programs. The departments and the nutrition service stakeholders shall, in accordance with the provisions of section 11-4a, submit a summary report on their findings and recommendations concerning any such alternative sources of funding, along with a report on any other recommendations they may have regarding nutrition services programs, to the joint standing committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to aging not later than July 1, 2016.]

Approved June 8, 2017