By Bob Katzen
A bill before the Committee on Elder Affairs would require a nursing facility to preserve and keep empty, a MassHealth resident’s bed for either a medical leave of up to 20 days or a nonmedical leave of absence for ten days.
“According to MassHealth, there were 120,411 medical leave of absence days in fiscal year 2018 alone,” said the measure’s sponsor Sen. Mark Montigny (D-New Bedford.) “Without adequate legal protections, such leaves of absence can lead to the loss of his or her bed, and lead to significant stress and hardship resulting in depression or physical decline. A resident’s place at a nursing facility is regularly considered much more than just a bed; it is their home and a safe haven.”
Montigny added that allowing residents to return to their bed after a medical stay or important family event encourages them to access necessary medical care and maintain relationships with their loved ones.