Martha Marx


Martha Marx



May 7, 2024
May 7, 2024

Senator Marx Votes for Legislation Enhancing Elder Care

State Senator Martha Marx (D-New London) voted Tuesday to pass a bill intended to increase access to home-based services for seniors by establishing better 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.

“In caring for patients throughout my career, I’ve known that our state needs to prepare for patients aging in place,” said Sen. Marx. “In addition to advances in keeping workers safer through Senate Bill 1, this session will be defined by helping patients better receive the aid they need and streamlining the procedures needed for them to stay happier and healthier.”

By presuming that home-based services will be covered by Medicaid, the bill is designed to spare seniors the 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 like their quality of care, their staff and health inspection results.

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.

However, the policy 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.