Legislative Results for 2021

GCOA, CO-AGE, and our partners worked hard this legislative session, even with COVID-19 continuing to affect the legislature. 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 2021 below.

FY 2021 Budget Wins: Behavioral Health Coach for Seniors

  • Funding for a new behavioral health coach based in Tipton and Albany was approved. The behavioral health coach will provide client support and clinical consultations to senior adults living in low-income housing communities. While most residents of low-income housing thrive, a few residents have behavioral issues that make community living difficult for themselves and other residents. This service has a 99% success rate in avoiding evictions and therefore homelessness. 

FY 2021 Budget Wins: 10% Rate Increase for Providers of Home & Community-Based Services

  •  $27.2 Million Total for Home and Community Based Services - The FY 2022 budget increases funding for providers of home and community based services.

  • $973,765 for New Adult Protective Services Caseworkers - This funding will be used to hire 13 new Adult Protective Services caseworkers to investigate reports of abuse, neglect, and/or exploitation of seniors and adults with disabilities.

  • $231,226 for New Public Guardianship Caseworkers - This funding will be used to hire three new public guardianship caseworkers to coordinate and monitor all services needed for the health and welfare of state wards.​

  • $71,956 for New Central Intake Specialist - This funding will be used to hire a new central intake specialist to support the additional public guardianship and Adult Protective Services caseworkers.​ 

 

CO-AGE Legislative Priorities

  • Disaster Planning Equity Resolution – House Resolution 406, sponsored by Representative John LaHood, R-Valdosta, urges the Georgia Emergency Operations Plan (EOP) to recognize the importance of long-term services and to support system providers and their direct care workers. It also encourages the Georgia EOP to assign providers and care workers equitable priority to that of other essential healthcare and public health workers. This resolution passed the house unanimously.

  • Hidden Cameras in Nursing Homes – In December of 2020, the Georgia Supreme Court ruled in favor of a resident whose son had placed a hidden camera in his room, affirming the right of nursing home residents to use a hidden camera if there is a security risk. Representative Sharon Cooper, R-Marietta, introduced House Bill 605 to place restrictions on camera usage in nursing homes. Resident advocates are elated that this bill did not pass during the 2021 legislative session. 

Other Bills of Interest to Seniors:

  • "Express Lane" for Georgia Children to Receive Medicaid  House Bill 163, introduced by Representative Sharon Cooper, R- Marietta, makes children whose families receive food assistance automatically eligible for Medicaid and PeachCare for Kids. This Bill was signed into law by Governor Kemp on May 4, 2021. This law has the potential to impact thousands of children and their caregivers, including grandparents, throughout the state.