Capitol

Aging-related issues in 2020

CO-AGEThe advocacy organization for older Georgians, CO-AGE, will be lobbying for two new issues in the 2020 state legislature. The first is a Behavioral Health and Housing pilot program for residents in senior living communities who have behavioral health needs that could cause them to be evicted. The pilot will test the effectiveness of a behavioral health coach who meets face to face with a resident and assists in getting the individual to clinicians for treatment.  The goal is to prevent a resident from needing a higher level of care or ending up homeless.

The second is HB511 that would create new “Mobility Zones” throughout the state to deliver consistent levels of service to all regions. Over 260,000 older Georgians age 70+ have ceased driving and most of them have unmet transportation needs. The proposed bill includes new dedicated transit funding while encouraging greater private-sector involvement.

Carry-over issues include a proposal for Medicaid funding to pay for assisted living facilities for those people who need help with activities for daily living but can’t afford it. Another bill would impose increased penalties for personal care homes who don’t comply with licensure and code enforcement. A perennial issue is an adequate budget for Home and Community Based Services, which are administered by the state’s 12 area aging offices and provide support to older Georgians so they can remain in their homes as long as possible through home modifications, personal assistance, meals, and other services. 

Question your legislators

ACCA, the Athens Community Council on Aging, is sponsoring a Legislative Breakfast on Wednesday, Nov. 6 from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. at 135 Hoyt St. This will be an opportunity to hear from and question legislators on aging-related issues. For questions or to RSVP, contact Paige Powell at 706-549-4850 or ppowell@accaging.org.

Nursing home rating system

Medicare updated ratings for the nation’s 15,616 skilled nursing facilities, according to a Kaiser Health News analysis of the latest data released by Medicare. To check on the ratings of local nursing homes, go to https://www.medicare.gov/nursinghomecompare/search.html?

Both Athens hospitals have award-winning stroke care

Piedmont Athens Regional and St. Mary’s Hospital have both received   Gold Plus awards for their stroke programs by the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.

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