Legislative / Regulatory Update January 12, 2021

This week we are watching legislation out of New Jersey establishing a bill of rights for LGBTQI residents. The new Jersey bill has passed both state chambers and is being sent to the Governor for signature soon. A similar bill is on deck in New York and is in the early stage. We expect that similar initiatives will start making their way across the country, probably moving next to the West Coast and then inward.

As these new rules will affect all operators in states where adopted, we’ve designated the topic a high priority for tracking.

NEW JERSEY (S.2545):
This bill establishes rights for LGBTQI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, queer, and intersex) residents in assisted living. Providers cannot discriminate against LGBTQI residents based in whole or in part on a person’s actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, intersex status, or human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) status.

Prohibited acts include:

  • denying admission, or discharging or evicting a resident from a facility;
  • denying a request by residents to share a room;
  • if rooms are assigned by gender, refusing to assign according to a person’s gender identity;
  • repeatedly failing to use a resident’s chosen name or pronouns;
  • denying a resident the right to wear or be dressed in clothing, accessories, or cosmetics or to engage in grooming practices that are permitted to any other resident;
  • restricting a resident’s right to associate with other residents or with visitors, including the right to consensual sexual relations;
  • refusing to provide any service, care, or reasonable accommodation to a resident or an applicant for services or care.

The requirements of the act do not apply if incompatible with any professionally-reasonable clinical judgment. Facilities must post notices of nondiscrimination policies. Providers cannot disclose personal information like a person’s gender identity to other residents, visitors, or staff except to the extent necessary for staff to perform their duties. Facilities must make sure that staff receives training on caring for LGBTQI seniors.

This bill was sponsored by 18 legislators, passed both houses on January 11, 2021 and is being sent to the governor for signature.

NEW YORK (S.85):
There is a proposal in New York to amend the Public Health Law to establish the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender long-term care facility residents’ bill of rights. This bill will apply to residential health care facilities, adult care facilities, and assisted living residences.

The prohibitions against discriminatory actions and the requirements for notice, training, privacy, etc. are substantially similar to the New Jersey bill.

State Senator Brad Hoylman is the primary sponsor and the bill was referred to the Health Committee on January 6, 2021.

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