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Sen. Jehlen, Rep. Donato Share State House News

Pat JehlenSenate Passes Bill Funding State Capital Facility Repairs and Improvements

The Massachusetts Senate voted to authorize up to $3.65 billion in bonds for repairs and improvements of capital facilities across the Commonwealth. Spending authorizations in the bill include bonds for state university and community college campus improvements, public safety and security facilities, and clean energy and efficiency programs.

The legislation sets aside $5,000,000 for improvements outlined in the Medford Square Master Plan, including the study and redesign of the Route 16/Main Street intersection and the adjoining ramps in the city of Medford. It also includes $10,000,000 for the construction of a public safety complex in Medford.

“This bill invests in many local programs and projects all over the Commonwealth, affirming the Legislature’s commitment to ensuring that our communities see continued maintenance and improvement of our parks, roadways, and public safety facilities, among others” said Senator Patricia Jehlen. “I’m pleased to see Medford receive this funding, knowing that it will serve residents across the district.”

The bill also authorizes the issuance of bonds for the improvement of capital facilities and for general government operations, including:

– $680 million for general state facility improvements;
– $675 million for trial court facility improvements;
– $475 million for state university and community college campus improvements;
– $475 million for the University of Massachusetts system campus improvements;
– $193.4 million for a municipal facility improvement grant program;
– $150 million for the Accelerated Energy and Resiliency program, which develops and implements energy and water savings projects statewide;
– $85 million for the Clean Energy Investment Program to improve the energy efficiency of state-owned facilities.

The bill will now be reconciled with a version passed by the House of Representatives.

House Passes Massachusetts Alzheimer’s and Dementia Legislation

Bill will coordinate state efforts to address Alzheimer’s disease and aid patients and families grappling with related dementias

Representative Paul J. Donato (D-Medford) joined his colleagues in the House to pass legislation which establishes an Alzheimer’s Disease Advisory Council. The bill also requires the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) to conduct an assessment on existing state efforts and implement a state plan to address the disease.

There are currently 120,000 individuals in Massachusetts with Alzheimer’s or a related dementia, and experts predict the prevalence of Alzheimer’s will increase 25 percent in the next decade. Currently, more than 300,000 people in Massachusetts act as caregivers to one these patients. In 2017, Medicaid costs for caring for people with the disease totaled $1.55 billion.

“Massachusetts is a national leader in health care,” said House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo (D-Winthrop). “This legislation ensures our ongoing commitment to confronting the largest unaddressed public health threat facing our nation. I believe it will strengthen our ability to provide quality care and ongoing support to the growing number of people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s throughout the Commonwealth.”

“Almost every resident in the Commonwealth has felt the effects of this tragic disease, and sadly the number of those suffering has continued to grow,” said Representative Danielle Gregoire (D-Marlborough), Chair of the Committee on Elder Affairs. “I am proud of the House’s swift action to address the looming public health crisis that is Alzheimer’s disease and am grateful that the Speaker has made this critical legislation a priority as we enter the new year. I look forward to the day that it is signed into law.”

“I support and applaud this legislation as a great opportunity to address this very challenging disease which affects so many of our families”, said Representative Paul J. Donato.

The legislation creates minimum-training standards for elder protective services social workers and establishes a continuing education requirement for medical professionals to improve the diagnosis, care, and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.

In an effort to strengthen a patient’s support network and improve communication, physicians will be granted increased flexibility when sharing medical information with a patient’s family throughout diagnosis and treatment. These changes operate within the existing legal framework of federal and state medical information privacy laws. The legislation also requires a new, one-time continuing education requirement for physicians, physician’s assistants, registered nurses, and practical nurses, which will include training in the diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer’s.

The Alzheimer’s Disease Advisory Council, established in the legislation, will be required to meet quarterly and will provide EOHHS and the Legislature with recommendations on Alzheimer’s policy, an evaluation of state-funded research, care and programming, and any outcomes of such efforts. EOHHS will create an integrated state plan to facilitate the coordination of government efforts while ensuring that appropriate resources are maximized and leveraged.

The legislation requires hospitals to implement an operational plan for recognizing and managing individuals with dementia. Hospitals must complete and implement their operational plan by October 1, 2021, and provide the Department of Public Health with the plan as requested.

– Submitted on behalf of Sen. Jehlen and Rep. Donato

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