Rosen: Bill protects seniors

ST. PAUL – State Sen. Julie Rosen, R-Vernon Center, says the Senate has passed monumental legislation that includes a series of protections for elderly and vulnerable Minnesotans, and an extensive framework for the licensure of assisted-living facilities.

The bill passed with wide, bipartisan support.

“This is about making sure our mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, and grandmas and grandpas are cared for with the love and respect they deserve,” Rosen said in a press release.

The legislation includes consumer protections designed to ensure the rights of elderly and vulnerable adults, including protections for residents against retaliation in nursing homes or assisted-living facilities; and a clear process for residents to appeal a termination of housing or services.

The bill also enhances oversight of the state Office of Health Facility Complaints and provides funding for the Office of the Ombudsman of Long-Term Care.

The bill contains provisions giving nursing home and assisted-living residents the explicit right to use electronic monitoring devices in their rooms.

In addition, the bill includes a framework for licensing assisted-living facilities in the state. Once the licensure system is in place, the current housing with services system will be eliminated.

Under the legislation, a Resident Quality of Care and Outcomes Improvement Task Force is created to make recommendations on how to apply safety and quality improvement practices to long-term care services.

Rosen says the rights of assisted-living facility residents are protected by a new consumer bill of rights, and qualifications for assisted-living directors and nursing home administrators are outlined in the bill.

In addition, assisted-living facilities will be subject to the oversight and regulatory authority of the state Health Department.

Licensure requirements go into effect by Aug. 1, 2021.

Finally, Rosen says the legislation includes more than $30 million to implement assisted-living licensure and allow state agencies to address recommendations made in a far-reaching legislative audit.