Senator Lovely testifies in support of bills heard by the Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities

COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS
MASSACHUSETTS SENATE
STATE HOUSE, BOSTON 02133

Senator Joan B. Lovely
State Senator
2nd Essex District

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

October 10, 2017

Senator Lovely testifies in support of bills heard by the Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities

(Boston) – Today, Senator Joan Lovely testified in support of S.59, An Act establishing a commission on the status of children and youth and S.60, An Act relative to cueing and supervision in the PCA program. Senator Lovely is the lead sponsor of both of these bills. They were heard by the Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities.

S59 would establish a permanent commission on the status of children and youth in the Commonwealth. The Commission will include professionals who are experts in areas of child well-being, and will also include youths themselves to ensure that their voices are heard loud and clear. Among its duties, the commission would be tasked with studying, reviewing, and reporting on the status of youth within the commonwealth. This includes assessing programs and best practices in all state agencies as they affect children and youth, while also promoting collaboration between youth serving organizations across the state. Additionally, the commission would be responsible for informing our state’s leaders in business, education, health care, and state and local governments about issues of importance pertaining to children, while also serving as a resource for legislative bodies on the potential effects of proposed legislation.

The Child Advocate, Maria Z. Mossaides and Salem State University Professor Yvonne Vissing also testified in support of this bill.

“The strength and success of our state and society rests upon how well equipped our children and youth are to meet life’s challenges,” stated Senator Lovely. “This commission would be a platform for children and youth to have a voice and share their priorities to help ensure that they receive the legal, health, education, and social services they need to grow, learn, and thrive.”

In addition, Senator Lovely offered testimony in support of S60, An Act relative to cueing and supervision in the PCA program. Under this legislation, individuals would be able to receive supervision or cueing assistance with activities of daily living that they may be able to physically perform on their own. This change would put Massachusetts in line with 70% of states that allow personal care assistance through Medicaid.

The Personal Care Attendant (PCA) Program is one of the largest MassHealth funded, community-based, long-term care programs in the Commonwealth. Within the PCA program, disabled individuals are eligible to receive physical care assistance with activities of daily living that they are unable to complete on their own.  However, individuals are not eligible to receive assistance with tasks that do not require physical assistance.  For example, an individual who has suffered a stroke who may not be able to remember to bathe or eat, but is physically capable of doing so when reminded, is ineligible to receive PCA services in a community setting.

“This is a critical piece of legislation that would provide necessary services through the PCA program to individuals who have suffered injuries and are in great need,” Senator Lovely added.

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