ASSEMBLY, No. 2628




DATED: JUNE 23, 1997


      The Senate Senior Citizens, Veterans' Affairs and Human Services Committee favorably reports a Senate Committee Substitute for Assembly Bill No. 2628.

      This committee substitute amends the "Rooming and Boarding House Act of 1979," P.L.1979, c.496 (C.55:13B-1 et seq.), to provide that a person shall not own or operate a rooming or boarding house that offers personal care services to residents with special needs, including, but not limited to, persons with Alzheimer's disease and related disorders or other forms of dementia, without a valid license to own or operate such a facility, issued by the Commissioner of Community Affairs.

      The provisions of the substitute require that the Commissioner of Community Affairs establish standards that provide an assurance that the needs of residents with special needs, including, but not limited to, persons with Alzheimer's disease and related disorders or other forms of dementia, will be met. The standards, which shall be adopted by regulation no later than 90 days after enactment of the bill, shall include, at a minimum, the following:

          staffing levels;

          staff qualifications and training;

          special dietary needs of residents;

          special supervision requirements relating to the individual needs of residents;

          building safety requirements appropriate to the needs of residents;

          special health monitoring of residents by qualified, licensed health care professionals, including a requirement that a medical assessment be performed on a resident with special needs, as determined necessary by the commissioner, prior to admission and on a quarterly basis thereafter to ensure that the facility is appropriate to the needs of the resident; and

          criteria for discharging residents which shall be set forth in the admission agreement which shall be provided to the resident or the resident's representative prior to or upon admission. The commissioner may revoke the license of any provider who violates the criteria for discharging residents.

       Also, the substitute provides that a person who owns or operates a rooming or boarding house shall not provide health care services in that facility; however, this provision is not to be construed to prohibit a licensed health care professional acting within the scope of that person's license from providing health care services to a resident of a rooming or boarding house in that facility.

      The substitute defines:

          "Alzheimer's disease and related disorders" as a form of dementia characterized by a general loss of intellectual abilities of sufficient severity to interfere with social or occupational functioning; and

          "Dementia" as a chronic or persistent disorder of the mental processes due to organic brain disease, for which no curative treatment is available, and marked by memory disorders, changes in personality, deterioration in personal care, impaired reasoning ability and disorientation.

      This substitute is identical to the Senate Committee Substitute for Senate Bill No. 1782 (McNamara/Bassano), which the committee also reported favorably on this date.