Aging Committee

JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT

Bill No.:

SB-309

Title:

AN ACT ALIGNING THE OFFICE OF THE LONG-TERM CARE OMBUDSMAN WITH THE OLDER AMERICANS ACT.

Vote Date:

3/15/2018

Vote Action:

Joint Favorable Substitute

PH Date:

3/8/2018

File No.:

Disclaimer: The following Joint Favorable Report is prepared for the benefit of the members of the General Assembly, solely for purposes of information, summarization and explanation and does not represent the intent of the General Assembly or either chamber thereof for any purpose.

SPONSORS OF BILL:

Committee on Aging

REASONS FOR BILL:

The bill makes technical revisions to align the Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman with the Older Americans Act.

RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:

Amy Porter, Commissioner of the Department of Rehabilitation Services (DORS), State of Connecticut: Supports this bill. The bill conforms to a number of federal regulations and requirements that have been handed down to all states by the Administration for Community Living (ACL) under the authority of the Older Americans Act (OAA). Failure to adopt the bill's provision could jeopardize the state's continuing receipt of significant federal OAA funding. They state that the proposed legislation accomplishes several important goals.

DORS acknowledges the very good intention of this bill and others. However, because of the state's difficult budget circumstances, they are not in a position to endorse any proposals that require increased appropriations. They additionally note; the current state of the agency's resources and staffing levels would not allow them to undertake new or expanded assignments within their current appropriation.

Nancy Shaffer, Connecticut Long Term Ombudsman Program: Supports the bill. The passage of this proposal will ensure Connecticut's compliance with the new federal rule for the ombudsman. Ms. Shaffer testified that it is the first time since the inception of the Ombudsman Program in the early 1970's that the comprehensive regulations have been issued. Based on the varied experiences of each Ombudsman Program throughout the country and with the full support and implementation by the administration on Community Living these new regulations took effect July 1, 2016.

Ms. Shaffer notes that while the Connecticut Ombudsman Program already had in place many of statutory guidelines and policies that were in line with the new rule, she points to Commissioner's Porter's testimony as well that the new regulations strengthen the Ombudsman's mission to protect and advocate for long-term care residents.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:

Mag, Morelli, President, LeadingAge Connecticut: Support the bill. The bill makes technical revisions and aligns the Office of the LTC Ombudsman with the Older Americans Act. However, they raise the question regarding the proposed new duty of the Ombudsman added in lines 185-188. It requires the Ombudsman to develop policies and procedures regarding the communication and documentation of informed consent in the case of resident complaints, including but not limited to, the use of auxiliary aides and services or the use of a resident representative. LeadingAge seeks clarification as to what is meant by “informed consent for resident complaints.”

NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:

No testimony in opposition was submitted.

Reported by: Rhonda Carroll

Date: March 25, 2018