A bill that senior living experts said overreaches the licensing scope of assisted living communities has passed the Connecticut Legislature and is on its way to the governor to be signed into law.

Senate Bill 1030: An Act Concerning Long-Term Care Facilities, if signed by the governor, will require assisted living communities, residential care homes, intermediate care facilities and nursing homes to adopt “unreasonable and costly” measures that go beyond the scope of an assisted living provider’s license, Chris Carter, president of the Connecticut Assisted Living Association, said previously.

The bill was drafted in part based on recommendations from the state’s Nursing Home and Assisted Living Oversight Working Group. The work group was formed to address lessons learned from the pandemic in long-term care and was based on findings in a report from Princeton, NJ-based Mathematica Policy Research.

Matthew Barrett, president and CEO of the Connecticut Association of Health Care Facilities / Connecticut Center for Assisted Living, previously told McKnight’s Senior Living that the bill “overreaches by extending regulatory requirements aimed at healthcare settings, such as a full-time infection preventionist and RN training requirements.”

Rhonda Boisvert, president of the Connecticut Association of Residential Care Homes, previously testified that the bill “tries to take a one-size-fits-all approach to long-term care” and would change the current residential care home model. 

The legislation would require assisted living communities and other applicable settings to hire a full-time infection prevention and control specialist, establish an infection prevention and control committee and provide training to staff on infection prevention measures. The head of each facility also would be required to participate in the local government’s emergency plan development. 

The bill also would require assisted living communities to employ a staff member during every shift who is trained on how to start an intravenous line, and it would impose statutory requirements for quarterly N95 mask fittings and require the establishment of an infection prevention committee.

In addition, the bill also would require each assisted living community to establish a family council with the goal of improving communication between residents, families and staff members. Resident care plans also would be required to address social isolation and ensure that residents have access to in-person and virtual visitation.

In addition, the state Department of Health would be required to establish an essential caregiver program, and the Public Health Preparedness Advisory Committee would need to amend its emergency response plan for public health emergencies to include long-term care facilities and providers of home- and community-based services.

The bill also would require the state Department of Public Health to maintain a three-month stockpile of personal protective equipment and would require every administrator and supervisor of a long-term care facility, including assisted living communities, to complete the Nursing Home Infection Preventionist Training course from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

The bill contains additional language regarding placement of electronic monitoring devices in the rooms of nonverbal residents of nursing homes, as well as staffing levels in skilled nursing facilities.

AARP Connecticut State Director Nora Duncan “applauded” passage of the bill, saying it addresses several reforms, including improved staffing levels, enhanced infection control measures, PPE stockpiles and emergency planning.