Friday, April 20, 2018
NOTES FROM THE SENATE, APRIL 20, 2018
NUMBER OF SENIORS GROWING FASTER THAN STATE POPULATION
Even though Georgia is a fast growing state, now the country's 8th most populated, the rate of senior citizens is growing even faster. According to the Department of Human Resources Division of Aging, the population of citizens 60 and above in Georgia will double between 2010 and 2030 to around 3.1 million.
That growth rate makes Georgia the 11th fastest growing state for the 60 + age group and the 10th fastest growing state for the 85 and above range.
There were twice as many women than men. In the 85 and over group, from 2010-2014. They predict that by 2030, 1 in 5 Georgians will be over 60 years of age.
LEGISLATION AFFECTING SENIORS
--SB 406- Creates a new process for background checks for employees who work in elder care, for both prospective employees and facility owners. The Department of Community Health will establish a central caregiver registry of applicants and employees with information from background checks. This registry allows someone who is hiring a caretaker for a family member to access information on potential employees.
--SB 370-Exempts the first $25,000 of the estate of a Medicaid recipient from claim by the state under estate recovery. This legislation waiver must be approved by the Federal Agency CMS.
--SB 444-Renamed the "Senator Thorborn "Ross" Tolleson, Jr. Act" creates the Georgia Alzheimer's and Related Dementias State Plan Advisory Council consisting of 17 members to advise the Governor, General Assembly and state agencies on matters relating to the Georgia Alzheimer's and Related Dementias State Plan.
--HB 635-Authorizes each judicial circuit district attorney to create an Adult Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation Multidisciplinary Team to coordinate on the investigation of unlicensed personal care homes and suspected cases of abuse, neglect or exploitation of disabled adults or elder persons. Board would consist of members from the GBI, Adult Protective Services and the Department of Community Health
--HB 803-Creates the offense of trafficking of a disabled adult, elder person or resident by means of deception, coercion exploitation or isolation; to knowingly recruit, harbor, transport provide or to obtain a person for the purpose of appropriating their resources such as monthly income for personal gain. Punishable by fines of up to $100,000 and imprisonment of between 1 and 20 years. Violation does not apply to physicians, hospitals, hospices or long-term care facilities acting in good faith.
GEORGIA-YOUNG AND GROWING
FUNDING AFFECTING SENIOR CITIZENS
--$3.7 million total funds to fund the increase in personal needs allowance for nursing home residents under Medicaid from $50.00 monthly to $65.00 monthly.
--$10.5 million total funds for an increase of $12.62 in rates for alternative living providers.
--$1.2 million in total funds for reimbursement rate increase for Adult Day Health Centers
--$962,022 in existing funds to support increased background checks for long-term care facilities.
--DCH Elder Support Services is tasked using existing funds to the Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) to determine through a study the unmet needs for non-Medicaid senior transportation in each of the 12 AAA regions and report to the House and Senate Appropriations Committees
-- $750,000 in total funds for new fellowship positions at Augusta University in Vision, Retinal and Glaucoma, Cancer, Gynecological Oncology, Neurology, Alzheimer's Disease and Stroke/ Vascular and Aging.
Even though the numbers and the percentage of seniors of the overall population is growing, Georgia will continue to be a state with a high percentage of younger population. Even though the latest data we have from 2017, shows that Georgia's overall percentage of the population that is 65 and over, is likely to increase from 10.2% in 2010 to 15.9% by 2030, Georgia would still have the lowest percentage of 65 and over seniors of any state in the Southeast.
Full transcripts of bills may be found at http://www.legis.ga.gov/en-US/default.aspx . Simply type the bill number into the box at the top left-hand corner of the screen and specify if it is in the House or the Senate. The FY 2019 budget (H.B. 684) may be found at http://www.senate.ga.gov/sbeo/en-US/AppropriationsDocuments.aspx. As always, I welcome any questions you may have.