Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Bill could protect elders' human rights

Two weeks ago the Boston Globe reported on the lack of protection for seniors when their competency is challenged: no legal representation, no right to be present at competency hearings (if they even are informed that it's taking place), no access to their money if they are declared incompetent. I wrote about it here.

Now two bills in the Massachusetts Legislature would go a long way to remedy this injustice: S.843, An Act Relative to the Uniform Probate Court and S.1116, An Act to Establish a Public Guardianship Commission. Last Thursday these bills had a hearing before the Judiciary Committee.

Al Norman, Director of Mass Home Care, had this to say in his public testimony: "We wish to be recorded in support of S. 843, which we believe is another part of our mission to ensure that only people who really need to be in a nursing home reside there. Reforming the guardianship process is one way of guaranteeing that elders and the disabled are not inappropriately institutionalized or warehoused because of a guardianship process that takes shortcuts with the disabled persons’ independence and dignity. Not only is the elder unjustifiably segregated, but the taxpayers of the Commonwealth have to pay for an inappropriate and expensive level of care for people who should still be living in the community."

Now, just because the bills have had a hearing doesn't mean they will become law! If you are represented by any Judiciary Committee members, tell them you want the bill reported out favorably. Then start working on your state representatives and senators.

Judiciary Committee Members:
Creedon of Second Plymouth and Bristol
Baddour of First Essex
Antonioni of Worcester and Middlesex
Creem of First Middlesex and Norfolk
McGee of Third Essex and Middlesex
Tarr of First Essex and Middlesex

O'Flaherty of Chelsea
C. A. Murphy of Burlington
Naughton of Clinton
J. M. Murphy of Weymouth
Peisch of Wellesley
S. M. Walsh of Lynn
Curran of Springfield
J. D. Keenan of Salem
Walz of Boston
Evangelidis of Holden
Webster of Hanson

If we're lucky, we'll all be old someday. Let's keep our independence as long as we can.

1 comment:

maldensenior said...

Hi I was pleased to meet you at the leadership meeting of MSAC.
We are working on Home Care at the Metro North Chapter and sure support your stand 100%/ I enjoy and take to heart your blog issues
and hope to get interested parties involved. We are interested in taking Medicare as a major vehicle for improving home care. Our Chapter President Ken Goldstien with the help of Pam Edwards our organizer is presenting our stance at the next State Board meeting