Sen. Marty Knollenberg
Sen. Marty Knollenberg

LANSING, Mich. — The state Senate on Tuesday approved Senate Bill 378, which would clarify licensing guidelines for certain senior care facilities.

In 2015, pursuant to an executive order issued by Gov. Rick Snyder, licensing responsibilities for homes for the aged (HFA) were transferred from the former Department of Human Services (DHS) to the current Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA).When the responsibilities were shifted, it was determined by LARA and the attorney general’s office that the former DHS guidance on when licensure may or may not be required did not comply with the current state law.

“The goal of this legislation is to clear up the guidelines within the statute, but also to open up additional options for seniors and those who provide services to them,” said bill sponsor Sen. Marty Knollenberg, R-Troy.

Currently, a facility needs to be licensed under the Public Health Code as an HFA if it provides room, board and supervised personal care to 21 or more unrelated people who are 60 years of age or older. The bill would reduce the age requirement to 55.

“Reducing the age requirement to 55 will expand available options for seniors and make care accessible to a wider range of people who may need it,” Knollenberg said.

SB 378 would also clarify the law to reduce uncertainties for operations that provide room and supervised personal care, or both, but utilize a third party service for meals or food service.  Under the legislation, an HFA would be allowed to continue using third-party services as long as the home maintains a complaint-free record.

“The bill has received bipartisan support from my colleagues, and numerous senior care and senior citizen groups came out in favor during the committee hearing process,” Knollenberg said. “I was happy to see the Senate accept the House changes and move this to the governor’s desk.”

SB 378 now heads to Gov. Rick Snyder for final approval.