Here you will find the latest news and updated from Mass-ALA President & CEO, Brian Doherty.

 

Recap of Assisted Living Issues in the 2017-2018 Massachusetts Legislative Session and the Impacts on Your Residences

 

Dear Mass-ALA Members,

 

Much of the focus of our education and news updates is on regulations. Many regulations that impact assisted living begin as legislation, so one of the important aspects of Mass-ALA’s advocacy comes in the form of monitoring and providing input on pending legislation so that the impact on our communities is proactively considered. The Massachusetts legislature’s formal session for 2017-2018 ended on August 1st. Although the legislature will continue to meet through the end of 2018 in informal sessions, only non-controversial legislation can pass during this time. We will, however, remain vigilant and watch for any legislative action in the coming months. Since this legislative session began in January 2017, Mass-ALA has monitored activity at the State House and advocated for seniors and assisted living communities on many issues. Here is a recap of some of the key issues Mass-ALA worked on, as well as legislation that passed and will now impact assisted living.

 

Common Sense Health Services

Mass-ALA advocated strongly for “An Act authorizing the option of providing common sense health services for residents of assisted living residences,” which would provide the option of offering certain basic health services (injections, dressing changes, Oxygen management, application of drops and ointments) in certified assisted living communities in order to serve residents with specific health needs that might otherwise cause them to prematurely enter skilled nursing facilities. The bill made significant progress this session as it was reported favorably from the Committee on Elder Affairs, reported “ought to pass” by the Committee on Health Care Financing, and referred to Senate Ways and Means. While it did not ultimately pass, we have strategies to build on the progress made this session both this fall, and when it is refiled in January. The Boston Globe recently published a letter we submitted in part to promote and educate the public on the Common Sense Health Services bill. You can read the published letter here.

 

Medicaid Frail Elder Services Waiver

Another top priority for Mass-ALA this legislative session was the Medicaid Frail Elder Home and Community Based Waiver, which would allow lower income older adults to have the option of choosing to reside in an assisted living community, just as they could if they resided in 43 other states. This bill would help promote affordable assisted living opportunities. This bill was reported favorably by the Committee on Elder Affairs, reported “ought to pass” by the Committee on Health Care Financing, and referred to Senate Ways and Means, but did not ultimately pass. The Executive Office of Elder Affairs (EOEA) is working with Mass ALA to advance this objective without legislative action, so stay tuned for more updates on its progress this fall.

 

Alzheimer’s Awareness

A bill to advance Alzheimer’s awareness and treatment, “An Act relative to Alzheimer’s and related dementias in the Commonwealth” was passed by both the House and Senate and signed by the Governor this session. It will require training of physicians, physician assistants and registered and practical nurses who treat patients with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia to provide better care for those patients. While the bill does not directly impact or impose requirements on assisted living communities, it will improve care for residents with dementia when they are treated in hospitals and other settings. Argentum, the national assisted living association, promoted the passage of this legislation in a recent update to all members nationwide, sharing the Boston Globe’s front-page report on the impact of the legislation, which you can read here.

 

Staff Training on Working with LGBT Residents

As a part of the passage of the state budget, a provision was included that requires all assisted living staff in Massachusetts to complete training on preventing and eliminating discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression and improving access to services for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender residents. Mass-ALA supported this requirement and will be monitoring EOEA’s development of guidelines to keep members informed of what they should do to comply with this requirement and ensure that staff are trained to serve these populations.

 

Non-compete Agreements
Another issue that Mass ALA has monitored in recent years and was acted on in the final hours of this session is a bill on non-compete agreements. Under a section included in a larger economic development bill, non-compete agreements would be permissible, but only where the restricted period is limited to one or two years, depending on the situation. It also contains a garden leave clause allowing workers to collect a percentage of their salary while prohibited from working elsewhere. More information on how this new law will regulate non-compete agreements is available here.

 

Mass-ALA will be developing a legislative agenda for the 2019-20 legislative session this fall, and we look forward to sharing that with you. We will continue to strongly advocate for assisted living and keep you updated. Thank you for your continued membership and participation.

 


If you missed Doherty’s introductory message to members, see below

 

Dear Mass-ALA Members,

 

A few of the core values that are important in associations are collaboration, transparency, and the production of tangible results that demonstrate the value of membership. In my first message to you I will share what I’ve observed in my first few weeks as President and CEO and ask for your input, to introduce new levels of transparency and collaboration, as the next step in Mass-ALA’s path to achieving outcomes that help seniors, your businesses, and the advancement of the assisted living industry. Together, we will advance the successes of the industry and its standing in the Massachusetts economic and civic landscape.

 

Mass-ALA has grown and flourished since its founding in 1990, which is a testament to your efforts and commitments to enhanced quality of life in your communities that has led to industry growth, as well as a credit to the stewardship of the founders and leaders of Mass-ALA. The Association has provided value through its advocacy, educational training’s and webinars, conferences, networking events, resource guides and the highly attended annual awards dinner.

 

Despite the value, in conversations at all levels of the Association, I hear loudly and clearly: Mass-ALA needs to enhance its relevance to members in its education, advocacy, building of professional community, and news updates on industry regulations and trends. These are all areas that I have advanced in the associations I’ve led in the real estate and health care industries, and which we will raise to exciting new heights at Mass-ALA. The features and details of how Mass-ALA will be improved and what will be emphasized going forward are not
yet determined, because the crucial first step is for my team and I to listen to what you the members value and are seeking from your association now and in the future. I invite you to join us in this new chapter in MassALA’s history.

 

I encourage you to connect with me in person at the upcoming events listed below, or via email to share your thoughts or to invite me to visit your community. Please email me at bdoherty@mass-ala.org. I look forward to working with you to revitalize Mass-ALA and advance assisted living.

 

September 18, 2018 8am-3pm

Regulations Training, DCU Center, Worcester
2018 Regulations Training Registration
(Meet & Greet after the event)
September 25, 2018 8am-3pm

 

Riding the Educational Wave on the Cape, Hyannis
Riding the Educational Wave on the Cape Registration
(Meet & Greet after the event)
October 25, 2018 8am-4pm

 

Fall Conference, DCU Center, Worcester

(Meet & Greet after the event)
Details TBD

 

Sincerely,

Brian Doherty, CAE

President & CEO