Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives
in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same,
SECTION 1. Section 191 of chapter 6 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 1990 Official Edition, is hereby amended by adding the following definition:-
"Late-deafened deaf", a deaf person for whom spoken language is the primary and preferred mode of communication where supplemented by other visual or auditory enhancement modes. The term "Late-deafened" shall mean that the onset of hearing loss occurred after the individual acquired full spoken language competence.
SECTION 2. The first paragraph of section 195 of said chapter 6, as so appearing, is hereby amended by striking out the third, fourth, and fifth sentences and inserting in place thereof the following three sentences:- The majority of the council members shall be persons who, for purposes of this section self-identify as deaf community members, late-deafened deaf, deaf or hard of hearing. Every reasonable effort shall be made to include an equal number of deaf community members, late-deafened deaf, deaf and hard of hearing members. Each member shall serve for a term of two years.
SECTION 3. Said section 195 of said chapter 6, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by striking out the second paragraph and inserting in place thereof the following paragraph:-
The commissioner shall nominate persons whose service will assure representation of the interests of parents, interpreters, the deaf community, late-deafened deaf persons, deaf and hard of hearing persons from all geographic areas of the commonwealth. The commissioner's nominations shall be from a list provided by consumer groups and individuals representing such late-deafened deaf, deaf and hard of hearing persons, as well as parents and interpreters.
SECTION 4. Item 2200-0103 of section 2 of chapter 153 of the acts of 1992 is hereby amended by striking out, in line 1, the word "dredging" and inserting in place thereof the following words:- completing a feasibility assessment on.
SECTION 5. The department of medical security is hereby authorized and directed to conduct a study of prescription drug expense assistance for persons age sixty-five or older receiving medicare benefits and whose income is not higher than two hundred percent of the federal poverty level and who are not eligible for medical assistance pursuant to chapter one hundred and eighteen E of the General Laws. Said department shall recommend a sliding fee scale, eligibility standards, and application and verification programs.
Said department shall recommend a schedule of benefits, copayments, covered drugs, covered diagnoses and other requirements, and may recommend incentives or requirements for the purchase of generic drugs, drugs provided by specified vendors, or other requirements to increase the cost effectiveness.
Said department shall report the results of its study by filing the same with the clerk of the senate, the joint committee on insurance and joint committee on health care and the house and senate committees on ways and means within twenty-one days after the effective date of this act. Said report shall include recommendations and a plan for their implementation.