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Commission on LGBT older adults

SECTION 9.   Said chapter 6A is hereby further amended by inserting after section 16X the following section:-

Section 16Y. (a) There shall be a commission within the executive office of health and human services for the purpose of studying and making recommendations relative to state policies and regulations on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, or LGBT, older adults to: (i) ensure equality of access, treatment, care and benefits; (ii) 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; (iii) assess the funding and programming needed to enhance services to the growing population of LGBT older adults; (iv) 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; (v) examine whether certain policies and practices, or the absence thereof, promote the premature admission of LGBT older adults to institutional care; (vi) recommend, as appropriate and necessary, lower cost and culturally appropriate home and community-based alternatives to institutional care; (vii) 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 (viii) examine outreach protocols to reduce apprehension among LGBT elders and caregivers of utilizing mainstream providers.

(b) The commission shall consist of 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 Community Health Center, Inc. or a designee; the executive director of the Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, Inc. or a designee; a representative of the National Association on HIV Over Fifty, Inc.; the executive director of MassEquality Org, the Campaign for Equality, Inc. or a designee; the executive director of the Mass Home Care or a designee; the director of the Massachusetts office of AARP 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 Home Care Aide Council 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.

(c) The commission may hold regular public meetings, fact-finding hearings and other public forums as it considers necessary; and shall submit an annual report by December 31 to the governor, the clerks of the house of representatives and the senate, and the joint committee elder affairs. The report shall include, but not be limited to, the commission's findings and any recommendations for regulatory or legislative action, with a timeline for implementation, cost estimates and finance mechanisms and any other efforts to address the needs of this population.