Editor’s note, May 22: Gov. Tim Walz has signed HF90 into law.

As legislators in her home state of Minnesota passed a landmark bill related to assisted living and memory care, U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, seeking to win the Democratic nomination in the political race for president, discussed her family’s experience with the settings at a campaign event in New Hampshire.

Her 91-year-old father, Jim Klobuchar, has dementia and lives in an assisted living / memory care community, she said Sunday at a house party in Salem, NH, the Washington Examiner reported.

“I have seen how much it costs and what it means,” Klobuchar said, according to the media outlet. “People don’t really realize it just adds so much cost to our healthcare because they get other illnesses, and they fall, and things go wrong because of their problem with Alzheimer’s.”

Klobuchar called for more federal funding for Alzheimer’s disease research and caregiving.

Meanwhile, in her home state of Minnesota, the state senate on Sunday passed HF90, also known as the Elder Care and Vulnerable Adult Protection Act of 2019, and sent it to Gov. Tim Walz, who is expected to sign it.

The bill, among other things, would establish two levels of assisted living community licensure, one for assisted living facilities and another for facilities with dementia care services, which are subject to additional training requirements. Current state law classifies assisted living communities, where more than 60,000 state residents live, as “housing with services” and requires registration instead of licensure.

The licensure requirements would go into effect by Aug. 1, 2021, if the bill is signed into law. Minnesota is believed to be the last state to license assisted living settings.

The bill also gives assisted living and nursing home residents and families the explicit right to use electronic monitoring devices, or “granny cams,” in resident rooms beginning in January.

The bill language was arrived at via consensus among industry and consumer advocacy groups and others, including state regulators, LeadingAge Minnesota, Care Providers of Minnesota, AARP Minnesota, Minnesota Elder Justice Center, Elder Voices Family Advocates and the Alzheimer’s Association.

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