CO-AGE Issues for 2022 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.

Budget Priorities

The Priority Issues for 2022 are:

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Perennial Issue: Home and Community Based Services

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.

 

Raise Public Awareness of Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program

Amount: $300,000 - $500,000

The Long-Term Care Ombudsman (LTCO) Program was created to offer an unbiased advocate for those living in long-term care (LTC) settings. Funding would allow a Public Relations firm to create a public awareness campaign for LTCO. This would include the creation of collateral and media materials to be used in various outreach methods including radio, TV, print ads and billboards, bus and MARTA train wraps and more. 

Allow Medicaid in Assisted Living Communities

This legislation would allow older adults with limited means to have access to care provided in AL facilities. Legislation would amend GA’s AL community statute in two ways: (1) removing the requirement that an assisted living community must have a minimum of 25 beds and (2) deleting the prohibition of ALCs enrolling as a Medicaid provider and receiving Medicaid funds. These changes will expand choice for older Georgians, allowing seniors to live in ALCs and to take advantage of home and community-based services under GA’s Elderly & Disabled Medicaid waiver.

Legislative Priorities

The Georgia Caregiver Act

The CARE Act provides specific guidance for ensuring that family caregivers are seen and included in the care team by hospital staff by requiring the following:

• Advise individuals of their opportunity to identify a family caregiver;

• Record the caregiver’s name and contact information in the health record;

• Enable family caregivers by providing as much notice as possible about discharge timing, consulting with them about the discharge plan, discussing their role in carrying out that plan, and instructing them about the medical/nursing tasks they will handle at home.

Expand Nursing Home Options

Georgia’s Department of Community Health’s regulations for licensing new skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) are subject to the Certificate of Need (CON) requirements that cover all health care facilities.

This issue requests a legislative study committee to consider possible changes to CON requirements to encourage innovative models of person-centered care. Topics for study would include:

• Expand and elevate long-term care options available to aging Georgians,

• Attract more private pay SNF residents and improve choices for SNF Medicaid residents

• Encourage SNF operators to adopt innovative practices which can improve the quality of life and care for their residents.