GCOA's Senior Issues Newsletter: Week of March 13, 2023
Senior Issues Weekly Newsletter March 17, 2023
2023 Legislative Session:
Legislative Days 32-35
In this Issue:
On Monday, March 13th, Legislative Day 32, GCOA attended the House Banks and Banking committee meeting in support of Senate Bill 84, brought forth by the Secretary of State's Office. SB 84 would call for financial institutions to delay the processing of an unusual transaction on a senior's bank account if fraud is suspected. Former GCOA Chair and current Council member, Vicki Johnson, provided testimony on behalf of the Georgia Council on Aging in support of the bill as "a good step forward in Georgia's efforts to protect at-risk older adults." The bill was passed out of the committee and subsequently received a unanimous vote on the House floor after a presentation by Representative Carter Barrett on Wednesday, March 15th.
Additionally, on Wednesday, March 15th, an amended version of HR 141, to establish a study committee to expand long-term care options, was heard in the House Human Relations and Aging Committee and was favorably passed. Representative Lee Hawkins has carried this piece of legislation for CO-AGE since the 2022 Session.
Another notable aging related bill, HB 571, which would call for the Georgia Alzheimer's and Related Dementia State Plan to be updated every four years, was passed in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee on Wednesday as well.
The daily schedule at the Capitol as well as live streams of hearings and other pertinent information about the legislature can be found at legis.ga.gov .
Keep reading for updates on the 2023 CO-AGE priorities.
The FY 2024 Budget is Now in the Senate
In our advocacy efforts, CO-AGE has stressed that Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) allow older Georgians to stay in their homes as long as possible. However, the longer you live in a house, the more likely you will need to maintain, upgrade, and/or retrofit it to meet your needs. Home modifications and repairs fall under the umbrella of HCBS. Eldercare Locator came up with a handy tool to help people locate home repair and modification resources in their area. Access the tool HERE.
The Senate is carefully reviewing the FY 2024 budget. The hope is that they will keep the House recommendation of $5,464,800 for Home and Community Based Services in their version of the budget. GCOA Executive Director, Debra Stokes, provided testimony in the Senate Appropriations Health and Human Development subcommittee to encourage them to support the recommendation.
The Value of Assisted Living
The senior living trade association recently released a report called "The Value of Assisted Living for America" to shine light on this level of care. According to the data collected for the report, 90% of the two million assisted living residents across the country report "good or great satisfaction" with their communities and 96% feel that their communities "provide sufficient healthcare and access to care." Keep reading HERE for more information on the report. Allowing Medicaid in assisted living communities would increase access to this kind of support as care needs evolve for the growing older adult population.
The CO-AGE advocacy team is still in talks with the Georgia Department of Community Health and other potential partners to better understand the current laws and regulations in order to move the improvements to assisted living communities priority forward.
Access to Dental Care Is Crucial for Older Adults
A study published just last week highlights the importance of access to dental care for older adults. The research dials in on the ties between oral health and cognition, particularly in individuals living with diabetes. It revealed that having both tooth loss and diabetes can contribute to worse cognitive function and and faster cognitive decline in older adults. The researchers stress the importance of regular dental visits. For those who do not have access to a dentist for regular visits, teledentistry can be that bridge to care. Read more about the study HERE.
The Teledentistry bill, HB 441, is going to require further dialogue between the dental community and bill sponsors. The CO-AGE advocacy team is on standby for next steps to make strides toward legislation that will make teledentistry more accessible to Georgia's seniors.
11 States Have State-Facilitated Retirement Savings Programs
Wednesday, February 22nd, Legislative Day, was AARP's Advocacy Day at the Capitol. Dozens of AARP volunteer advocates from across the state gathered to meet legislators at the ropes to promote the Work and Save program, asking them to consider the creation of public-private retirement savings partnership. These advocates raised their voices on behalf of over 2 million working Georgians who do not have a way to save for retirement through their job. Read more about AARP's Advocacy Day HERE.
Now that Senator Chuck Hufstetler has agreed to sponsor the bill in the Senate, the Work and Save priority will continue to move forward to be assigned a bill number and then assigned to a committee. Advocacy partners are looking for potential bill sponsors in the House.
State-Facilitated Retirement Legislation Passed in Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico's governor has just signed legislation that moves the territory a step closer to making it easier for private-sector workers to save for retirement. The plan is to model its program after other state-facilitated retirement programs like Work and Save. Read more HERE.
Now that the concept of Work and Save has been introduced to the Georgia Legislature alongside the growing number of other state models paving the way with their own retirement plans, we expect to see more progress in this area in the near future.
Get ready to Engage with CO-AGE!
The Georgia Council on Aging's Coalition of Advocates for Georgia's Elderly (CO-AGE) is meant to be:
a forum to identify and address concerns of older Georgians
a vehicle for bringing broad-based input on aging issues from across the state
a diverse group of organizations, individuals, consumers and providers interested in "aging specific" and inter-generational issues
a unifying force communicating the importance of providing supportive communities and adequate services & programs for older Georgians
Anyone interested in advocating with or on behalf of older adults can join
CO-AGE. Individual Membership is only $10! Sign up HERE or Scan this QR Code:
If you are already a member, please make sure that your account is up to date. In order to accurately and effectively link our CO-AGE members to their legislators, it's important that we have the most updated home addresses in our database. If you had a change of address recently, please contact Patrice Parker at firstname.lastname@example.org and she will update your address in our system. All home addresses will remain confidential!
Senior Week 2023 Recap
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