Legislative Results for 2020

GCOA, CO-AGE and our partners worked hard this legislative session, even with COVID-19 causing a full shutdown of the legislature through June. CO-AGE members sent action alerts, wrote letters to their local newspapers, and reached out to legislators to ask for support on aging issues. See the legislative results for 2020 below.

FY 2021 Budget Wins: Two surveyor positions added to HFR

  • $147,575 for HealthCare Facility Regulation to hire 2 new surveyor positions to support the annual onsite inspection of nursing homes, personal care homes, and other living arrangements monitored by the department.

FY 2021 Budget Wins: Over $4.6 million funding RESTORED funding for aging services

  •  $2 million for Home and Community Based Services - The Conference Committee restored the non-Medicaid home and community-based services funding that was originally added in the FY 2020 budget.

  • $1,406,232 for Meals - The Conference committee restored this meals funding by $1.4 million after it was offered up as part of the DHS budget cuts​.

  • $1 million for Nursing Home Transition program - This funding was restored in the FY 2021 budget to move eligible individuals from nursing homes back into community settings.​

  • $247,200 for the Georgia Memory Net was restored by the Conference Committee to fund this statewide program dedicated to the early diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer's disease and related dementias.​ 

CO-AGE Legislative priorities

  • Personal Care Home Requirements – House Bill 987 was introduced by Rep Sharon Cooper, R- Marietta, to provide additional measures to safeguard elderly persons in long-term care facilities, increase maximum fines for violations, provide increased staffing requirements and training, and provide COVID-19 safety measures. This bill passed overwhelmingly in the House and Senate and was signed into law by the Governor on July 1, 2020.

  • Older Adult Transportation – House Bill 105, introduced by Rep Sam Watson, R- Moultrie, provides a new excise tax on ride-hailing trips to supply added flexibility to public agencies in providing transportation options for older adults. HB 105 was signed into law by the Governor on August 5, 2020.

  • Options for Senior Living – The House Study Committee on Innovative Options for Senior Living released their recommendations to address the obstacles faced by older Georgians needing affordable housing. The recommendations included DCH reviewing the resident caps for Medicaid community-based waivers and a review of the 24-resident bed cap that currently limits licensed care providers from delivering non-institutional high quality care. Rep Jesse Petrea also submitted a proposal to save GA Medicaid funds by providing Medicaid waivered memory care units.

Read the full HR 533 study committee report HERE.

​Read Rep. Petrea's Proposal HERE.

Other bills of interest to seniors:

  • Sick Leave:  Senate Bill 408, introduced by Sen Brian Strickland, R- McDonough, extends the sunset provision for an additional three years on the statute that allows the use of accrued sick leave for care of an immediate family member. Extends unemployment provisions allowing some Georgians to collect benefits for longer than the previous 20-week limit.

  • Surprise Billing: Rep Lee Hawkins, R-Gainesville, introduced House Bill 888, the balanced billing consumer protection act which puts patients ahead of the status quo and provides a fair process for billing that medical providers and insurers can agree on. House Bill 789 introduced by Rep Mark Newton, R- Augusta, creates a surprise bill rating system based upon the number of certain types of hospital based physician specialty groups within a health insurer’s network. 

© 2020 Georgia Council on Aging

2 Peachtree St., NW, Suite 32-270, Atlanta, GA 30303-3142

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