Ceci Maher

State Senator

Ceci Maher

Deputy President Pro Tempore

Working Together For Our Communities

May 7, 2024
May 7, 2024

Senator Maher Votes For Legislation Improving Senior Care

State Senator Ceci Maher (D-Wilton) voted Tuesday to pass a bill intended to increase access to home-based services for seniors by establishing enhanced training for home care workers and creating a presumptive Medicaid eligibility program for services provided at home.

The proposal, House Bill 5001, passed the Senate on a unanimous 36-0 vote and will now head to the governor to be signed into law. The bill was a top priority of House Speaker Matt Ritter and originated in the legislature’s Aging Committee.

The legislation would make several changes to state law designed to make aging in place easier for senior citizens.

“As more and more people prefer aging in their home to receiving care elsewhere, I’m glad we are meeting their needs and preparing for the future,” said Sen. Maher. “This bill will help our state meet the demands of this shift in care provision.”

By presuming that home-based services will be covered by Medicaid, the bill is designed to spare seniors the difficult choice between residing in a nursing home or forgoing care while awaiting a Medicaid approval process that can take up to 90 days.

The proposal creates a new database of home-based workers, allowing consumers to identify and match qualified home aides based on characteristics like language, certifications or special skills, as well as previous experience. This also helps the providers and their agencies by giving them access to recruitment, retention, and training programs.

The bill connects residents with a consumer dashboard, which uses a five-star rating system to compare nursing home facilities on metrics such as quality of care, performance of staff and the results of health inspections.

Other provisions of the legislation include new training requirements and photo ID badges for Personal Care Attendants and other home health care workers, and an expansion of fingerprinting locations for employment background checks.

The bill expands the duties of local senior center staff members to better assist elderly residents with accessing housing opportunities.

Costs related to the first year of the bill’s presumptive Medicaid eligibility program are estimated at around $500,000 and would be covered by remaining federal funds under the American Rescue Plan Act.

The policy, however, is not expected to result in additional costs to the state because nearly all of the impacted services are covered by Medicaid and will be reimbursed under the program. If the Department of Social Services concludes, after two years, the eligibility presumption has not been cost-effective, the bill includes a provision allowing the agency’s commissioner to discontinue the policy.

Contact: Joe O’Leary | 508-479-4969 | Joe.OLeary@cga.ct.gov