On June 8, Governor Baker filed S.2753 that would remove affordable, public, and market rate housing providers for seniors and persons with disabilities from the burdensome reporting requirements of the new COVID-19 data law. The bill is currently before the Committee on Public Health, which is collecting comments on the legislation. Click here for a fact sheet on S.2753.
Specifically, the data reporting law requires housing providers for seniors and persons with disabilities to publicly report daily the number of new known COVID-19 cases and deaths among residents and staff to local boards of health, the Department of Public Health (DPH), residents, and each resident’s health care proxy. DPH is then required to post this information publicly on its website. S.2753 would remove the requirement for housing providers to report this data.
Please help us pass S.2753 by submitting testimony to the Public Health Committee. Click here for the portal to submit written comments.
Please fill out the form indicating your support for the bill. In the prompt to provide additional comments, you can copy and paste the bulleted list below or add your own comments. The Joint Committee on Public Health will accept written testimony on the bill through Thursday, July 2.
S.2753 removes housing providers for seniors and persons with disabilities from the COVID-19 data reporting requirements. The reporting requirements of the new law will be burdensome on housing providers for seniors and persons with disabilities. The requirements should not apply to these housing providers for several key reasons:
- The law requires housing providers to report “known” COVID-19 cases and deaths of staff and residents. Housing providers have no way to know about cases unless the resident or their family choose to inform the housing provider. This is not a reliable way to gather information on COVID-19 cases as the data could be incomplete or inaccurate.
- The law requires housing providers to notify not only all the residents of a facility where a COVID-19 case occurred but also each resident’s health care proxy. Housing providers do not, as a practice, keep this information.
- The reporting requirements run counter to the expressed will of tenants in many senior housing developments. At the start of the pandemic, housing providers began notifying residents of each COVID-19 case or death. However, residents actually asked the housing provider to stop the notifications as they scared residents and caused undue anxiety without any guidance about how to remain safe as a result of the notification.
- The reporting requirements will force staff to conduct extensive notification exercises instead of actually keeping tenants safe. Complying with these requirements will take critical resources and staff time away from performing tasks like cleanings that proactively prevent the spread of the virus.
For these reasons, CHAPA strongly supports S.2753 to allow housing providers to more effectively protect residents and prevent the spread of COVID-19. Click here for CHAPA's testimony on S.2753.
The Committee does not plan to hold a virtual hearing for people to testify by video. The Committee will accept testimony beginning at 1:00 p.m. on Thursday, June 25, 2020, and ending at 5:00 p.m. on July 2, 2020. Although submission of testimony by means of the link provided above is strongly preferred, testimony may also be submitted by email both to Jay.Newsome@mahouse.gov and Brian.Rosman@masenate.gov. Testimony submitted by email must be submitted as a Word or PDF attachment to the email. Testimony must include the name, title, organization name, address and telephone number of the person submitting the testimony. If submitting by email, please include “PUBLIC HEALTH TESTIMONY” in the subject line of the email.