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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Jennifer Schultz (DFL)

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RELEASE: House and Senate approve consensus package of elder care reforms

Sunday, May 19, 2019

SAINT PAUL, Minn. – New protections for seniors and vulnerable adults earned final approval from the Minnesota Legislature Sunday night. The bill, HF 90, will create a licensure framework for assisted living facilities along with other safeguards to protect older and vulnerable adults.

“The ability for older and vulnerable Minnesotans to receive the care they need in a dignified, safe living environment is a value we all share as Minnesotans,” said Rep. Jen Schultz (DFL – Duluth), the bill author and chair of the House Long-Term Care Division. “An incredible amount of work went into this compromise and I want to thank advocates including AARP Minnesota, Legal Aid, Elder Voice Family Advocates and every single Minnesotan who told their story about why this legislation is so important. I also want to thank Minnesota’s care providers for their perspective throughout this process.”

Currently, Minnesota is the only state that doesn’t require licensure of assisted living facilities. In addition to the new licensing framework, reforms in the legislation include establishing a bill of rights for residents of assisted living facilities, stronger consumer protection measures, uniform standards for facilities providing dementia cares services, and ensuring the ability for a resident to have a camera in their living space. Under the agreement reached between providers, advocates, and legislators, a resident can install a camera in their residence 14 days before being required to notify the facility of its presence, giving family members the peace of mind to know that their loved ones are being treated with care and respect.

Gaps in Minnesota’s elder care oversight received widespread attention following a 2017 Star Tribune multi-part story on rampant assault, abuse, neglect and other crimes in Minnesota’s senior care facilities, as well as a lack of adequate response from state investigators to complaints about them.

The House initially approved the measure on May 10th. Upon passage by the Senate on Sunday night, the House moved quickly to vote for final approval, ensuring this important legislation will arrive at the desk of Governor Tim Walz before the Legislature adjourns for the year.