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Introduced Version House Bill 2444 History

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hb2444 intr
H. B. 2444


(By Delegates Campbell, Border, Perdue,
Webster and White)
[Introduced February 16, 2009; referred to the
Committee on Senior Citizen Issues then Government Organization.]



A BILL to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by adding thereto a new article, designated §16-29J-1, §16-29J-2, §16-29J-3, §16-29J-4 and §16-29J-5, all relating to the creation of the Legislative Oversight Commission on Long-Term Care, establishing membership, responsibilities, giving subpoena power, and establishing reporting requirements.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended by adding thereto a new article, designated §16-29J-1, §16-29J-2, §16-29J-3, §16-29J-4 and §16-29J-5, all to read as follows:
ARTICLE 29J. LEGISLATIVE OVERSIGHT COMMISSION ON LONG-TERM CARE.
§16-29J-1. Findings.

(a) In West Virginia, we have the highest rate of disability in the nation at twenty-three percent of the general population and forty-eight percent of senior citizens report having some type of disability.
(b) West Virginia is in a critical position to respond to the growing elderly and disabled population in a timely manner to prevent a real crisis in availability of services and a quality and efficient system.
(c) There is a national movement to rebalance the long-term care system so that citizens have a real choice in how they will live their lives whether in community-based programs or institutional programs.
(d) An efficient and effective LTC system supports two goals of long-term care:
(1) To support people being able to live in their own homes within their home community for as long as possible; and
(2) To enable people to return to community living after institutional settings as soon as possible.
(e) It is of great importance that the array of services actually meets the needs of the citizens and have a degree of flexibility that is critical to meeting individual needs and desires.
(f) The Olmstead decision requires a state to administer services, program and activities in the most integrated setting appropriate to the needs of the individual. The Olmstead Plan in West Virginia approved by executive order has some key elements that include: Informed choice, elimination of institutional bias, self direction which supports individuals making their own decisions rather than having decisions imposed on them by funding mechanisms or the delivery system, and quality.
(g) West Virginia has made substantial efforts to improve the long-term care system and has created new programs in recent years to fill the gaps. Yet there continues to be inconsistencies throughout the state in terms of availability of services, a lack of flexibility to create programs around the recipients needs and a lack of a seamless system of care.
§16-29J-2. Definitions.
As used in this article:
(a) "Agency" means those various agencies, authorities, boards, committees, commissions or departments of the Department of Health and Human Resources with authority to promulgate legislative rules pursuant to this chapter that regulate health care providers, practitioners or consumers; or those offering social services programs;
(b) "Bureau" is the Bureau of Senior Services; and
(c) "Commission" means the Legislative Oversight Commission on Long-Term Care; and
(d) "Department" means the Department of Health and Human Resources.
§16-29J-3. Creation of a Legislative Oversight Commission on Long-Term Care.
(a) There is hereby created a joint commission of the Legislature known as the Legislative Oversight Commission on Long- Term Care. The commission shall be composed of six members of the Senate appointed by the President of the Senate and six members of the House of Delegates appointed by the Speaker of the House of Delegates. No more than five of the six members appointed by the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Delegates, respectively, may be members of the same political party. In addition, the President of the Senate and Speaker of the House of Delegates shall be ex officio nonvoting members of the commission and shall designate the cochairpersons. At least one of the Senate appointees and one of the House of Delegates appointees shall be a member of the Committee on Health and Human Resources of the Senate and House of Delegates, respectively, and at least one of the Senate appointees and at least one of the House of Delegates appointees shall be a member of the Committee on Finance of the Senate and House of Delegates, respectively. The members shall serve until their successors shall have been appointed as heretofore provided. In addition to legislative members, there shall be appointed by the cochairs, consultants who will sit with the commission and participate in their deliberations. These consultants shall include representatives from the following agencies: The Bureau of Senior Services, the Department of Health and Human Resources, the Olmstead Advisory Council, American Association of Retired Persons, the Health Care Association, the Alzheimer's Association, the Statewide Independent Living Council and others identified by the cochairs as consultants.
(b) Members of the commission shall receive such compensation and expenses as provided in article two-a, chapter four of this code. Such expenses and all other expenses including those incurred in the employment of legal, technical, investigative, clerical, stenographic, advisory and other personnel shall be paid from an appropriation to be made expressly for the Legislative Oversight Commission on Long-Term Care:
Provided, That if no such appropriation be made, such expenses shall be paid from the appropriation under "Fund No. 0175 for Joint Expenses" created pursuant to the provisions of said chapter: Provided, however, That no expense of any kind payable under the account for joint expenses shall be incurred unless first approved by the Joint Committee on Government and Finance.
(c) The commission shall meet at any time both during sessions of the Legislature and in the interim or as often as may be necessary.
§16-29J-4. Powers and duties of commission.
(a) The powers, duties and responsibilities of the commission shall include the following:
(1) In keeping with the traditional concept of the inherent dignity of the individual in our democratic society, the older citizens of this state are entitled to enjoy their later years in health, honor, dignity and disabled citizens are entitled to live lives of maximum freedom and independence, this commission will make every effort to move the long-term care system towards this stated goal.
(2) Make a continuing investigation, study and review of the practices, policies and procedures of the long-term care system in this state;
(3) Investigate, study and review methods and strategies to provide citizens with a balanced long-term care system that allows people a realistic choice between institutional and community-based supports.
(4) Review and monitor the implementation of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Olmstead Plan.
(5) Conduct studies on:
(A) The funding that is available from the state and the federal government and the federal requirements that have an impact on decision making;
(B) The current gaps in services that exist in the system to provide the full range of home and community based services;
(C) The extent to which the state is maximizing available federal programs and moneys in providing health care services to the citizens of this state;
(D) The operation of the programs and funds created by article twenty-nine-c of this chapter; and
(E) The roles of the public, private and private nonprofit sectors in providing long-term care services in the state and the barriers that exist in meeting the needs;
(6) Consider the implications of rebalancing the long-term care system;
(7) Review the current Medicaid waiver programs including their policies to determine their effectiveness in meeting the needs of the citizens of the state;
(8) Review and study the implications of the increasing percentage of elderly and disabled in the state and the impact on the system;
(9) Review and study the feasibility and financial impact of providing care to those who do not qualify for a waiver program but have needs that, if met, would prevent the need for greater services or nursing home care for a longer period of time;
(10) Conduct a study on the cost and effectiveness of using various telecommunication systems to monitor those who are elderly or disabled and the delay in needing more costly care in the future; and
(11) Meet jointly with the agency directors and advocates to discuss the various topics of interest to provide a well developed and thoughtful series of recommendations.
(b) The commission shall make annual reports to the Legislature regarding the results of all investigations, studies and reviews pursuant to the provisions of section seven of this article.
§16-29J-5. Examination and subpoena powers; contempt proceedings. (a) For purposes of carrying out its duties, the commission is hereby empowered and authorized to examine witnesses and to subpoena such persons and books, records, documents, papers or any other tangible things as it believes should be examined to make a complete investigation.
(b) All witnesses appearing before the commission under subpoena shall testify under oath or affirmation. Any member of the commission may administer oaths or affirmations to such witnesses.
(c) To compel the attendance of witnesses at such hearings or the production of any books, records, documents, papers or any other tangible thing, the commission is hereby empowered and authorized to issue subpoenas, signed by one of the cochairpersons, in accordance with section five, article one, chapter four of this code. Such subpoenas shall be served by any person authorized by law to serve and execute legal process and service shall be made without charge. Witnesses subpoenaed to attend hearings shall be allowed the same mileage and per diem as is allowed witnesses before any petit jury in this state.
(d) If any person subpoenaed to appear at any hearing shall refuse to appear or to answer inquiries there propounded, or shall fail or refuse to produce books, records, documents, papers or any other tangible thing within his or her control when the same are demanded, the commission shall report the facts to the circuit court of Kanawha County or any other court of competent jurisdiction and such court may compel obedience to the subpoena as though such subpoena had been issued by such court in the first instance.



NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to establish a Legislative Oversight Commission on Long-Term Care that has responsibility for reviewing the long-term care system and making recommendations for improvement.

Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.
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