News and Announcements

Legislative Session Helps Seniors

The Georgia Council on Aging (GCOA) and members of the Coalition of Advocates for Georgia’s Aging (CO-AGE) were successful in advocating for Georgia seniors during the 2019 legislative session.    The governor, the House and the Senate members took the time to listen to the advocates, the older adults that came to see them at the capital during Senior Week in February and those that called or e-mailed them for their support of the many issues.

The session ended with extra funding in the 2020 state budget to help seniors remain safe and independent in their homes. Some of the funding will boost home and community based care, some for home delivered meals, assistive technology and a resource network connecting aging adults to local resources and support.  Money was also added to hire additional caseworkers to address elder abuse complaints and to advocate for older adults without guardians.

Also during the legislative session, lawmakers agreed to study the pressing issue of affordable housing for seniors, tightened elder abuse laws and introduced legislation to provide greater scrutiny of personal care homes.

Here’s a recap of the legislative successes of the GCOA and CO-AGE:

FUNDING

  • $2 million for Home and Community Based Services. Additional funding addresses a waiting list of about 7,000 older Georgians seeking support services such as personal assistance, transportation and home modifications. This is projected to fund an additional 1,053 slots.

  • $338,802 for Aging and Disability Resource Connection. The call centers helped 107,287 seniors in Fiscal Year 2018 find local resources and support. This funding will help create a public facing web site to provide 24/7 online information.

  • $1,406,232 for Meals on Wheels to reduce the waiting list for home-delivered meals.

  • $157,000 for assistive technology labs to provide $7,500 for technology for each of the 21 assistive technology labs across the state. Assistive technology helps improve the functional capabilities for adults with daily living challenges.

  • $1,355,873 for 17 additional caseworkers to investigate allegations of elder abuse.

  • $366,752 for 5 additional caseworkers to advocate as guardians for older adults.

LEGISLATION

  • Study committee on housing options – the House Study Committee on Innovative Financial Options for Senior Living was created and they will have until December to make recommendations.

  • Elder abuse – the bill allows law enforcement to inspect unlicensed personal care homes when regulators are not present, allows higher penalties for elder abuse crimes and clarifies the definition of exploitation so the abuse of an incapacitated person is a crime.

  • Personal Care Home sanctions – House Bill 722 increases the maximum allowable sanctions that the state can impose on personal care homes for causing death or serious harm to a resident.

  • Health Coverage for Low Income Seniors – Senate Bill 185 was created to help low income Medicare beneficiaries with out-of-pocket health care costs. This bill did not move this session but provides a vehicle to educate legislators and the public about this problem.

  • Senior Transportation - HB 511 passed the House but stalled in the Senate. HB 511 was amended onto SB 131 last week but failed to pass in the Senate.


For more information on the Georgia Council on Aging (GCOA) or the Coalition of Advocates for Georgia’s Elderly (CO-AGE), go to https://www.gcoa.org.



PRIVATE PAY OPTIONS

The Northeast Georgia Area Agency on Aging is happy to announce private pay services.  Private pay services offer a variety of services including Care Transitions, Case Management, Community Options Counseling and Home Delivered Meals. To learn more, call an Options Counselor at 1-800-474-7540.


Money Follows the Person (MFP)

 

Money Follows the Person is a grant offered through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Georgia Department of Community Health (DCH). Through partnerships with the Department of Human Services, the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities, the Department of Community Affairs, and other state and local agencies and organizations, DCH seeks to transition individuals from institutional setting to the community.

 

To qualify for the program: a person must have lived in an inpatient facility (i.e., a hospital, nursing facility or an intermediate care facility for people with developmental disabilities) for at least 90 consecutive days. The person must rather want to live in your own home, apartment or group setting and may be eligible for home and community based services (HCBS) through Georgia’s Medicaid Programs than be in an inpatient facility.

 

Services available through MFP:

                              

Trial Visits to the Community

Transition Supports

Moving Expenses

Utility and Security (Rent) Deposits

Transportation

Household Furnishings (limited)

Environmental Modifications

Home Inspections

Household Goods and Services

Specialized Medical Supplies

Equipment, Vision, Dental and Hearing Services

Vehicle Adaptation

Caregiver Outreach/Education

Peer Community Support

Life Skills Coaching

Skilled Out-of-Home Respite

Supported employment evaluation

 

Goals of the Money Follows the Person Program:

  1. Increase the use of home-and community-based, rather than institutional long-term care services.

     

  2. To eliminate barriers in state law, state Medicaid Plan and state budgets that prevent or restrict the flexible use of Medicaid funds to enable Medicaid-eligible persons to receive support for long-term services in a setting of their choice.

     

  3. To increase the ability of the state to continue to provide home-and community-based services to eligible people who choose to transition from an institution to a community setting.

     

The MFP Program started in Georgia in 2008 and over 2,200 participants have been transitioned from institutional care to the community.   MFP serves a diverse group of individuals across three primary target populations: Developmental Disability (47%), Physical Disability (38%) and Older Adults 65+ (15%).  Among all three populations, MFP saves approximately $11,736 annually per person.


If you are interested and want more information on Money Follows the Person, you can contact the NEGA Area Agency on Aging/Aging and Disability Resource Connection at 706-583-2546 or 1-800-474-7540.

           

Nursing Home Transition (NHT)

 

To qualify for the program:  The person must be age 55 and older, have lived in a nursing home for 30 days (can count the number of days in the hospital, too) with an individual monthly income of $6175 or less.

 

Services available through NHT:

Moving Expenses

Assistive Technology

Medical Supplies

Environmental/Vehicle Adaptation

Housing Loss Prevention

Peer Supports

Life Skills Coaching

Caregiver Supports

Household items (groceries)

Transportation

 

If a resident is interested in one of these programs, they can contact the Northeast Georgia Aging and Disability Resource Connection and ask for an Options Counselor at 1-800-474-7540.


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Georgia Edition of Today's Caregiver Magazine

 

Georgia Area Agencies on Aging(G4A), in partnership with Today’s Caregiver Magazine, are excited to launch the new digital Georgia edition of Today’s Caregiver Magazine! 

 

We are doing this in cooperation with other partners in the Aging Network such as AARP, Aging Services of Georgia, the Georgia Council on Aging and the Georgia Gerontology Society.  Please share this magazine with your friends, families and colleagues so that families and practitioners throughout the State will receive timely articles on caregiving and aging issues as well as direct links to the local Area Agency on Aging in each region.

 

We trust you will find valuable information on the pages of this magazine!  The Georgia digital edition is always free, so feel free to subscribe directly with Today's Caregiver. We welcome your suggestions for future articles. ENJOY!

 

 

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REPORTING ABUSE, NEGLECT OR EXPLOITATION

 

Reports of suspected abuse, neglect or exploitation occurring in the community should be made to the Georgia Department of Human Services Adult Protective Services Central Intake Unit.

 

REPORT ABUSE OF DISABLED ADULTS OR ELDER PERSONS

•Report on the web:  https://aging.dhs.georgia.gov/adult-protective-services

•Fax a referral: 770-408-3001 forms found at https://aging.dhs.georgia.gov/adult-protective-services

•Call us toll-free: 1-866-55AGING (1-866-552-4464) - Press “2”

•Within Metro Atlanta local calling area:  (404) 657-5250 

 

Reports are accepted by phone Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

 

To report abuse in a nursing home or personal care home, contact the Georgia Department of Community Health Healthcare Facilities Regulation Division at 404-657-5728 or 1-800-878-6442.