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In the wake of alarming reports from other states that nursing homes were forced to accept known COVID-19 positive residents, a policy which may have caused the spike in healthy nursing home residents becoming infected, Massachusetts has proposed sweeping legislation to protect senior citizens and to require daily reporting from Long-Term Care residences to ensure patient and resident safety. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts State Legislature has proposed legislation that will impact reporting requirements for long-term care facilities, including assisted-living facilities and state correctional facilities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
If enacted, Massachusetts Senate Bill S.2695 would significantly impact day-to-day operations at long-term care facilities. Facilities will have to consider how to change their respective operations to meet reporting requirements.
The proposed legislation will demand close monitoring of COVID-19 cases of residents and employees in Long-Term care facilities and increase reporting requirements. Massachusetts Senate Bill S.2695 proposes the Department of Public Health collect daily data sets from local Boards of Health, including but not limited to:
The proposed legislation calls for the Department of Public Health to publish daily reports of the data collected. The daily reports would be compiled by geographic location, including by county and municipality, and assisted living residences licensed by the executive office of elder affairs and long-term care facilities licensed by the department of public health, including the number of COVID-19 positive cases andmortalities among residents, as well as the aggregate number of COVID-19 positive cases and mortalities among staff at each residence or facility.
Assisted-living facilities licensed by the Executive Office of Elder Affairs and long-term care facilities licensed by the Department of Public Health will be required to notify residents and their representatives within twelve (12) hours if there is a confirmed case of or death due to COVID-19 in a resident or staff member and/or if three (3) or more residents/staff have a new onset of respiratory symptoms within the previous seventy-two (72) hours. The proposed legislation also calls for a task force to study and make policy recommendations that address health disparities for underserved or underrepresented populations during the COVID-19 pandemic. The proposed legislation would no longer be in effect after the governor certifies there has been no positive COVID-19 test in the Commonwealth.
The FMG Coronavirus Task Team will be conducting a series of webinars on Coronavirus issues on a regular basis. Topics include tort claims in a post COVID-19 world, real estate issues amid the pandemic and more. Click here to view upcoming webinars.
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