Saud Anwar

State Senator

Saud Anwar

Deputy President Pro Tempore

Working For You

May 2, 2024
Contact: Joe O’Leary | | 508-479-4969
May 2, 2024


State Senator Saud Anwar (D-South Windsor), Senate Chair of the Public Health Committee and a practicing physician, today led the State Senate’s passage of flagship legislation Senate Bill 1, which seeks to improve health and safety of Connecticut residents through a number of means including improving on-job safety of home health care workers, developing working groups to study pressing threats to general public safety, increasing access and education regarding opioid drug deactivation systems and improved oversight and monitoring of serious mental and physical health maladies. The bill passed by a 35-1 tally.

“Today’s advancement of this important legislation represents a commitment to preserving and improving the health and safety of everyone in Connecticut – especially those who are working to care for others every day, who have faced risks and threats on the job for far too long,” said Sen. Anwar. “This bill improves safety standards for home health workers, something that’s been needed for far too long, and that focus is just the start. It will study many issues impacting public health, improve the speed and quality of services provided to patients and work to encourage a greater sense of public safety and security.”

“One of our significant public health priorities is to protect the health and safety of those who keep us safe and healthy,” said Senate President Martin M. Looney (D-New Haven). “Home care workers perform a critical service for our families and communities throughout Connecticut and deserve the protections we are moving forward today. In addition, this bill represents an important advance in addressing other public health policy initiatives, including but not limited to studying conditions and diseases and continuing to combat the opioid epidemic. SB1 represents our continuing commitment to make our state healthier.”

“The deaths of two home care workers in late 2023 and early 2024 only underscore the dangers many of those who work to preserve and improve patient health face,” said Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff. “The actions we’re taking today are in honor of the men and women who help others recover and heal in their own homes and recognize their growing role in modern health care. We’re working to continually improve service and quality of care and the actions we’re taking today reflect that drive.”

Senate Bill 1, “An Act Concerning The Health And Safety Of Connecticut Residents,” promises to make a number of changes to current health care and public health laws, with its foremost intent improvements to the health and safety of the home health care workers who take care of Connecticut residents every day.

The law will require home health care and home health aide agencies to collect and provide information regarding patient history of violence toward healthcare workers, substance use, domestic abuse and violent acts or sex offender registry inclusion, as well as information regarding the safety of residences they plan to visit. Agencies will also provide annual staff training to recognize hazards commonly encountered in home care workplaces and have monthly safety assessments with staff and provide a mobile app or GPS system for on-duty safety checks among other safety updates.

These agencies will also annually report instances of verbal abuse perceived as threats or dangers by staff members, collecting information that has not previously been considered.
Further, the bill will create a working group comprised of employees of home health care and hospice care agencies; representatives of those agencies; representatives of CBA units, mobile crisis response services and assertive community treatment; police, hospital, home health agency and labor union leaders, among others; and state department commissioners to study health care worker safety.

The bill’s origins came after the October 2023 death of home care nurse Joyce Grayson, who was killed while visiting a patient who resided in a halfway house; that patient has since been charged with her murder. Sen. Anwar and his Public Health Senate Vice Chair State Senator Martha Marx promised that they would deliver change and improved safety for health care workers across Connecticut in honor of Grayson, acknowledging they often face unsafe and concerning conditions while performing their duties. The urgency of the call only grew after the January 2024 deaths of live-in caregiver Otoliegle Morulane and his patient in an East Lyme house fire.

In addition to Senate Bill 1’s focus on health care worker safety, it takes a broad, overarching approach to improving public health in Connecticut, including a number of measures Sen. Anwar committed to in recent months. Its measures include development and distribution of gun safety material distribution for increased awareness and education;, working groups to study health issues like nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, loneliness and isolation, and nail salon workers’ potential exposure to chemicals; studies on prescription drug shortages; increased public access and education regarding opioid drug deactivation systems; and increased oversight and studying of Parkinson’s Disease and schizophrenia, among many other aspects.

The bill further will support individual and group health plans covering coronary calcium scans, will ensure hospitals are prepared for cybersecurity breaches and have plans to respond if needed, and will support a statewide health information exchange that will interconnect myriad state medical services.

Prior to the Senate’s approval today, Senate Bill 1 was previously approved by a 25-12 vote on March 20 in the Public Health Committee. It will next be considered by the House; upon its passage there, it would proceed to the Governor’s office to be signed into law.

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