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Advocacy in Action March 22, 2019

Posted By Jennifer Gill, Friday, March 22, 2019
Updated: Friday, March 22, 2019

March 22, 2019

Capitol Hill Visits Impact Elected Officials

This week LeadingAge North Carolina members covered Capitol Hill to visit with their elected officials and reinforce the urgent needs of our aging population. With support from LeadingAge national regarding key messages, members banded together to articulate clearly and forcefully to our representatives in Washington on behalf of older adults. Our thanks to everyone who took on this task, conquering nerves and supporting one another's voices. Together, we can and do make a difference!

Above, LeadingAge North Carolina members Suzanne Pugh (far left)  from Aldersgate in Charlotte and Heather March (2nd left) from Croasdaile Village in Durham along with Katie Smith Sloan (3rd right) of LeadingAge national, Tom Akins, and Leslie Roseboro meet with Nora Blalock and Sean Maxwell from Representative David Price's office during Capitol Hill visits at the LeadingAge national Leadership Summit in D.C.

Above, the delegation from North Carolina, including staff from United Church Homes and Services in Newton, Givens Estates and Givens Communities in Asheville, Aldersgate in Charlotte, Croasdaile Village in Durham, Galloway Ridge in Pittsboro, along with Steve Fleming (far right) of The Well-Spring Group in Greensboro, Tom Akins, and Leslie Roseboro visit with staff members Bill Bode and Andrew Nam from Senator Thom Tillis's office and Rachel Soclof of Senator Burr's office in D.C. as part of Hill visits during LeadingAge national's Leadership Summit.

Above, Kenneth Jenzen (2nd left) and Teresa Stephens (center) from Givens Estates and Givens Communities in Asheville along with Lee Syria (2nd right) and Aimee Reimann (far right) from United Church Homes and Services in Newton visit with staff member Doug Nation (far left) from Representative Patrick McHenry's office.

Sign Up for the Seniors Action Network NOW

The Seniors Action Network is a grassroots movement organized to give America’s seniors a greater voice in public policy. The network recruits, educates, and trains advocates to take leadership in the formation of public policy by direct outreach to decision makers. Members of the Seniors Action Network engage in advocacy on issues that impact seniors by communicating directly with their Members of Congress through telephone calls, emails, and letter-writing campaigns. For more information about the Network and to sign up, CLICK HERE.

Medicare Observation Days Legislation
Legislation has been introduced in both the U.S. House and the Senate, H.R. 1682 and S. 753 respectively, to resolve the observation days issue by requiring all time Medicare beneficiaries spend in a hospital to count toward the three-day stay requirement for coverage of any subsequent post-acute care. We strongly support the legislation and are urging legislators to cosponsor these bills.

Urge the U.S. House and Senate to Fund New Housing for Older Adults
As Congress deliberates funding levels for HUD programs for the next fiscal year, fiscal year 2020, legislators must hear from you about the need to expand and preserve housing funding for older adults with very low incomes. The significant need for more Section 202 homes is nationwide and only growing. Today, only 1 in every 3 older adults eligible for housing assistance receives it because the programs are too small to meet need. Expansion of the Section 202 program would mean that fewer older adults will be forced to choose between housing, healthcare, and food. CLICK HERE to add your voice to those supporting affordable senior housing.

Provider Training Opportunity: Provider Transition to Medicaid Managed Care 101
The NC Division of Health Benefits has published a Special Medicaid Bulletin, Provider Training Opportunity: Provider Transition to Medicaid Managed Care 101, dated March 2019. Providers are encouraged to review this important information. For details, please refer to the 2019 Medicaid Bulletin web page.

Governor Signs Law Delaying Voter ID Requirements Until 2020 Election
Late last week, Governor Roy Cooper signed into law a bill (S.214) delaying photo ID requirements for voting until the 2020 elections. The delay was necessary because it would have been challenging for local elections boards to implement the voter ID in time for special elections to fill vacancies in the 3rd and 9th congressional districts later this year. Many nonprofits provide services to people who are eligible to vote but do not currently have photo IDs - including some seniors and individuals with disabilities. As North Carolina's election laws continue to evolve, it is important for nonprofits to provide clear, accurate, and nonpartisan information about elections to the people they serve.

Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Program Reauthorization
We are working for passage of S. 299, the Geriatrics Workforce Improvement Act introduced by Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Bob Casey (D-PA). This bill would help to ensure a more adequate supply of health care and other professionals trained and educated to meet the special needs of people as they age. Current Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Programs in North Carolina include sites at Duke University, East Carolina University, and the University of North Carolina.

Spousal Impoverishment Protections for Medicaid HCBS Clients
This program expired at the end of the 115th Congress. The Medicaid Extenders Act included a three-month extension of this protection for spouses of Medicaid beneficiaries receiving home and community-based services. (Note: Nursing home residents covered by Medicaid and their spouses have their own protections and are unaffected by this policy.) Reps. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) and Brett Guthrie (R-KY) have introduced H.R. 1343 to make home health spousal impoverishment protection permanent.

Older Americans Act
The law that funds a wide range of home and community-based services, including congregate and home-delivered meals, family caregiver support, and transportation, is due for reauthorization this year. We are working with other stakeholders on reauthorization legislation, including an increase in funding to meet the needs of an aging population.

Nurse Aide Training Lock-out
Since the automatic loss of training authority is statutory, we worked with Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI) in the 115th Congress on the introduction of the Nursing Home Workforce Quality Act. We educated dozens of Congressional offices about the devastating impact of the CNA training lockout, and many LeadingAge members participated in our grassroots campaign. Rep. Duffy has reintroduced the bill as H.R. 1265, with Reps. Collin Peterson (D-MN) and Greg Gianforte (R-MT) as co-sponsors.

Money Follows the Person
This demonstration program that helps states rebalance their Medicaid programs expired at the end of 2018. Congress passed the Medicaid Extenders Act of 2019, now law, to provide three months of funding for MFP, allowing states to use the money through the end of September 2019. Reps. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) and Fred Upton (R-MI) have now introduced H.R. 1342 to permanently authorize the Money Follows the Person program. In the Senate, Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) has introduced the corresponding measure, S. 548.

CDC Report Paints Grim Picture of Rapidly Escalating Fentanyl Overdoses That Have Hit Vulnerable Communities Hard
The death rate among African Americans from fentanyl-involved drug overdoses rose 141 percent each year, on average, from 2011 to 2016, and the death rate for Hispanics rose 118 percent in that period every year on average. Altogether, the records revealed that more than 36,000 Americans died with fentanyl in their systems during the study period. The majority of those deaths — 18,335 — occurred in 2016 alone. Meanwhile, the nation's top medical advisers say that medication for addiction is vastly underused.

LeadingAge National Bill Tracker
The LeadingAge national Regulatory Roundup 2.0, is a quick and easy tracker to help members find pertinent rules and federal regulations, with timelines for submitting comments and links to any comments LeadingAge may have submitted.

LeadingAge North Carolina | 222 N. Person Street, Raleigh, NC 27601
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