June Policy Alert

New Secretary of Health and Human Services

Yesterday the Senate voted to confirm Sylvia Burwell as the new head of the agency that administers Medicare, Medicaid, implementation of the Affordable Care Act, federally-funded medical research, and Older Americans Act home- and community-based services programs.

S1961 is to be heard on Thursday in the Senate Health Committee.

This bill requires that the temperature within emergency shelters, rooming and boarding houses, nursing homes, and residential health care facilities be maintained within a range of 62 through 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

The temperature requirements under this bill would be restricted to areas of the facilities that are used by the residents or patients. The temperature requirements would not apply to rooms designated for activities requiring physical exertion, or rooms where residents can individually control the temperature in their own living units, independent from other areas.

In the case of nursing homes and residential health care facilities, current law permits the Commissioner of Health to waive certain air conditioning requirements if compliance with the requirements would cause serious financial hardship, or if the nursing home or residential health care facility has not been constructed or expanded since August 17, 1989. This bill does not remove these existing exceptions to temperature control requirements.