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Delaware Senate Democrats

Sen. Mantzavinos sponsors bills to bolster standards for long-term care facilities

June 1, 2023

DOVER — Delaware’s aging population is growing, with projections from the 2020 Census and other sources forecasting that one in four Delawareans will be 65 or older by the year 2050.

To address the impact of this population shift on the state’s economy and health care systems, Sen. Spiros Mantzavinos has championed the General Assembly’s efforts to study and recommend policies that will improve the quality of life for aging Delawareans. Since taking office in 2021, he has served as Chair of the Aging-in-Place Working Group and Co-Chair of the Long-Term Care and Memory Care (LTCMC) Task Force — the latter of which just released its final report of recommendations earlier this week.

“Like so many Delawareans, I experienced the responsibility of making critical decisions about the health and wellbeing of an aging parent,” said Sen. Mantzavinos, D-Stanton. “When a family decides or when a medical professional recommends that our loved ones should no longer continue to ‘age in place’ or live at home, it is imperative that our long-term care facilities are providing high-quality, accessible, and standardized care — especially those which offer memory care services or for whom English is a second language.”

To comply with the recently published LTCMC Task Force recommendations, he and Co-Chair Representative Kendra Johnson today filed several bills to improve outcomes for long-term care facilities, including:

● Senate Bill 150, which strengthens staffing requirements for long-term care facilities that offer dementia care services;

● Senate Bill 151, a consumer protection bill that strengthens accountability for long-term care facilities that fail to adequately disclose the dementia care services they offer;

● Senate Bill 152, which ensures cultural competency and language accessibility standards for long-term care facilities

● House Bill 199, which increases workforce capacity by allowing the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services to adopt regulations that enable long-term care facilities to contract with temporary staffing agencies

● House Concurrent Resolution 55, which directs the Department of Health and Social Services to assess the development of a person-centered acuity model to enable state

regulations to better take into account the specific needs of residents, particularly those requiring dementia care services

“These bills follow on our commitment to implementing the task force’s recommendations and ensure that these facilities provide consistent, quality care to some of our most vulnerable residents,” said Rep. Johnson, D-Bear. “We owe it to Delawareans – both residents of these facilities and their families – to fight to make these improvements and overhauls to make the industry function as it should.

Taken together, these five pieces of legislation address some of the major challenges facing the quality of care provided at long-term care facilities cited in the LTCMC task force report.

“As the aging population in Delaware grows, it’s important for lawmakers to look at the challenges patients, their families and the industry as a whole are facing,” noted Sen. Brian Pettyjohn, R-Georgetown. “The proposed legislation, as well as continued discussions, will help move the ball forward and ensure that quality long-term and memory care is available to generations of Delawareans to come.”

“As the legislature prepares to reconvene next week for the final weeks of the 2023 session, I am hopeful that these bills will be considered,” noted Rep. Ruth Briggs King, R-Georgetown. “We owe it to our ever-growing aging population to do everything we can to protect one of the most vulnerable sectors in our state.”

Senate Bills 150 and 152 have been assigned to the Senate Health Committee. SB 151 has been assigned to the Senate Banking, Business, Insurance & Technology Committee. HB 199 has been assigned to the House Health Committee. HCR 55 will be heard before the legislature on Wednesday, June 7.