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GCOA's Senior Issues Newsletter: Week of January 9, 2023

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Senior Issues Weekly Newsletter January 13, 2023

2023 Legislative Session: Days 1- 4

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Welcome to the 2023 Legislative Session! Day 1 kicked off on Monday, January 9th. The Georgia Council on Aging was in attendance for the swearing in of the House and Senate as well as the inauguration of the Governor and Constitutional Officers.

 

Even though we are only a few days into the session, history has already been made. Speaker Pro Tempore, Jan Jones, became the first female Speaker of the House in her temporary term following the passing of Speaker Ralston before the new Speaker Jon Burns was sworn in on Monday. Additionally, the 2023 freshman class of legislators is the most diverse group of individuals that the Georgia legislature has ever consisted of to date.

Today, the Governor released his recommendations for the Amended Fiscal Year 2023 Budget and the 2024 Fiscal Year Budget. Joint Appropriations hearings will start next week.

The daily schedule at the Capitol as well as live streams of hearings and other pertinent information related to happenings under the Gold Dome can be found at legis.ga.gov .

Keep reading for updates on the 2023 CO-AGE priorities.

HCBS Funding
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GCOA Continues to Advocate for In-Home Care and Community 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. Even though Georgia received American Rescue Plan Act funds, which was very helpful, the current waitlist for HCBS is still over 7,000.

GCOA and CO-AGE are requesting new funding of $10 million to cut the waitlist by more than half. The costs to provide HCBS are about one-tenth of the state’s cost of nursing home care, $2,200 a person annually to provide HCBS compared to approximately $22,000 for a nursing home bed. HCBS also help delay premature nursing home care by 51 months. The $10 million funding would keep more older adults in their homes, maintain service provider jobs in local communities, and leverage public-private partnerships and solutions to the challenge of meeting the needs of an expanding older population. 

We will soon see how much money has been allotted to HCBS in the Governor's proposed budget.

ALCS
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Allow Older Georgians to Have Ample Access to Care in Assisted Living Communities

Allowing Medicaid in Assisted Living Communities (ALC) would allow older adults with limited means to have access to care provided in assisted living facilities. Legislation would amend Georgia’s assisted living 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 options for older Georgians, allowing seniors to live in ALCs and to take advantage of home and community-based services under Georgia’s Elderly & Disabled Medicaid waiver.

A bill has been drafted. CO-AGE is in the process of identifying a bill sponsor.

Teledentisty
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Teledentistry Under the Umbrella of Telehealth Would Benefit Those Who Have Little to No Access to Oral Care 

In states where the supervising dentist is not physically present during a patient's assessment prior to care, findings may be sent remotely by the dental hygienist to the dentist for evaluation. This is known as Telehealth for Dentistry, or Teledentistry, and may take several forms, such as photos, x-rays, or two-way audio, visual, or other electronic communications.

Georgia has no rules or legislation to authorize supervising dentists to send or receive remote communication. 

A bill has been drafted. CO-AGE is in the process of identifying a bill sponsor.

Work and Save
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Many Georgians Do Not Have Access to an Employer Provided Retirement Program

Legislation would create the state-run program for caregivers and working Georgians to have an opportunity to offer employees a benefit of a retirement savings. Several other states have passed or have been in the process of considering legislation for this type of program. CO-AGE looked at New Mexico as an example.

A bill has been drafted. CO-AGE is in the process of identifying a bill sponsor.

Save the Date

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Sponsorships

Sponsorships

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Would you like to be a virtual sponsor for the Senior Week 2023 Webinar?

The webinar will stream live on the GCOA Facebook page on February 16th. Viewers will have the opportunity to hear from legislators, Aging Services speakers, sponsors and the 2023 Distinguished Older Georgian. 

To sign up for a sponsorship, contact nikaela.frederick@gcoa.ga.gov

The deadline to submit your slide is January 27, 2023

© 2023 Georgia Council on Aging

47 Trinity Ave. SW, 1st Floor, Atlanta, GA 30334

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