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Commision on Elder LGBT Support

SECTION 186.   There shall be a special commission established pursuant to section 2A of chapter 4 of the General Laws to investigate, analyze and study the health, housing, financial, psychosocial and long-term care needs of older lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, hereinafter LGBT, adults and their caregivers and to make recommendations to improve access to benefits and services where appropriate and necessary. The special commission shall consist of 20 members: the house and senate chairs of the joint committee on elder affairs or their designees, who shall serve as co-chairs; the secretary of elder affairs or a designee; the director of housing and community development or a designee; the commissioner of public health or a designee; the director of the LGBT Aging Project or a designee; the president of Fenway Health or a designee; the executive director of the Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders or a designee; a representative of the National Association on HIV Over Fifty, Inc.; the executive director of MassEquality or a designee; the executive director of the Mass Home Care or a designee; the director of AARP Massachusetts or a designee; the executive director of the Massachusetts Association of Councils on Aging, Inc. or a designee; the director of the Massachusetts Senior Care Association or a designee; the director of the Massachusetts Council for Home Care Aides Services, Inc. or a designee; and 5 members appointed by the governor, 1 of whom shall be a member of the Massachusetts bar who practices elder law, 1 of whom shall be an expert in LGBT public policy or research and 3 LGBT elders, at least 1 of whom shall be transgender. The governor's appointees shall ensure that the commission has at least 1 representative from each of the following areas: Cape Cod, western Massachusetts and central Massachusetts.

          The commission shall: examine the impact of state policies and regulations on LGBT older adults and make recommendations to ensure equality of access, treatment, care and benefits; examine strategies to increase provider awareness of the needs of LGBT older adults and their caregivers and to improve the competence of and access to treatment, services and on-going care, including preventive care; assess the funding and programming needed to enhance services to the growing population of LGBT older adults; examine best practices for increasing access, reducing isolation, preventing abuse and exploitation, promoting independence and self-determination, strengthening caregiving, eliminating disparities and improving quality of life; examine whether certain policies and practices, or the absence thereof, promote the premature admission of LGBT older adults to institutional care; recommend, as appropriate and necessary, lower cost and culturally appropriate home and community-based alternatives to institutional care; examine the feasibility of developing statewide training curricula to improve provider competency in the delivery of health, housing and long-term support services to older LGBT adults and their caregivers; and examine outreach protocols to reduce apprehension among LGBT elders and caregivers of utilizing mainstream providers.

The commission, in formulating its recommendations, shall take into account the best policies and practices in other states and jurisdictions. The commission may hold regular public meetings, fact-finding hearings and other public forums as it considers necessary. The commission shall file its recommendations, together with recommendations for legislation, if any, with the clerks of the house of representatives and senate, not later than 12 months after the first time the commission is convened.