CO-AGE Issues for 2021 Legislative Session
CO-AGE is a vehicle for bringing broad-based input on aging issues from across the state to the attention of the General Assembly. Every July, CO-AGE members vote to prioritize issues to bring to Georgia’s elected officials.
The Issues for 2021 are:
Perennial Issue: Home and Community Based Services
Amount: $10 million
Home and Community Based Services provide support for older Georgians to remain at home as long as possible by providing home modifications, personal assistance, meals, transportation, and other services. These services cost far less than staying at a nursing home and can help seniors stay independent longer. Check back later for more detailed information on HCBS needs.
Behavioral Health and Housing
Amount: $360,000 - $540,000
Some public housing residents have behavioral health issues that make community living difficult for themselves or other residents. Without access to other options, some of these individuals move into higher levels of care unnecessarily (such as personal care homes or nursing homes) and some become homeless. Funding would be used to expand a current pilot to meet the behavioral health needs of older adults living in affordable housing sites.
Currently, long-term care facilities only contact their local county coroner for a death that is suspicious, such as a result of a homicide or accident. This can lead to subjective decision making in determining deaths to report that may have been the result of inadequate care. Legislation would require county coroners to be called in instances of suspicious deaths in long-term care facilities.
Disaster Planning Equity
The COVID-19 pandemic exposed gaps in the Long Term Care Services & Supports (LTSS) system with limited access to resources to help prevent the spread of the outbreak. LTSS providers were not given priority to receive necessities and continue critical services. Legislation would name LTSS system providers for inclusion for Disaster/Pandemic planning efforts.
Telehealth for Dentistry
Dental hygienists' comprehensive training allows them to "see and identify" oral conditions that point the doctor to needs of the patient. Telehealth for dentistry has been shown to bring about efficiency, provide access to under served populations, and improve quality of care to reduce the oral disease burden. Georgia has no rules legislation to authorize a GA supervising dentist to send or receive remote communication even though the state has engaged with telemedicine for over 20 years.