Georgia Advocacy

 

GEORGIA CHAPTER PLATFORM LEGISLATION STATUS—4-15-15

Update on Alzheimer's-Related Issues in Georgia General Assembly; Update on Federal Legislation

We wanted to take a moment to say THANK YOU to each of you who has taken action on one of our alerts this year, or joined us at the Capitol to work the '"rope line,'" or joined us at Alzheimer's Awareness Day at the Georgia State Capitol.  Your VOICE means so much when you reach out to your legislators to ask them to take action.  So, take pride in the work that we accomplished during the 2015 Georgia Legislative Session this year--it would not have happened without you!

However, it is just as important to say THANK YOU to our legislators as it is to ask them for their support.  So, for one final time this year, we are asking you to help us thank our Georgia legislators for their support of Georgians living with Alzheimer's and their families, by helping to ensure their safety, quality planning with them--not just for them, support services, and continuing to support the implementation of the Georgia Alzheimer's and Related Dementias State Plan.  For this reason, we ask you to help us to thank every Georgia legislator one last time.  Please write a hand-written "thank-you" note to

Please go to the House or Senate listing of the individual representative or senator, and click on their name to find his/her mailing address:

House:  http://www.house.ga.gov/Representatives/en-US/HouseMembersList.aspx 

Senate:   http://www.senate.ga.gov/senators/en-US/SenateMembersList.aspx

If you do not know who your state senator and state representative are, please go to: act.alz.org/findarep, and enter your e-mail address, zip+4, or home address.

UPDATE ON GEORGIA LEGISLATION:

  • HB72—Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation—amended version—In Georgia, from 2008 to 2012 reports of abuse increased by 65%.  To address this epidemic, House Bill 78 passed in 2013.  As prosecutors have tried these cases, they identified necessary improvements, including:
    • Allowing prosecutors to charge these crimes as RICO violations to prosecute groups of people who work together to defraud or abuse elderly and vulnerable adults
    • Allowing information collected during departmental inspection of complaint investigation to be used as evidence in a criminal trial
    • Provide for priority scheduling when the alleged victim is a disabled adult or elder person
    • Clarifying who has to report suspected financial exploitation
    • Passed the House on 4/2/15, by a vote of 143 Yea; 21 Nay
    • Passed the Senate on 4/2/15, by a vote of 46 Yea; 1 Nay
    • Now, on to the Governor for his consideration 
  • HB86—Reposition Aging Agency—House substitute passed—Moving the Division of Aging Services to the Department of Community Health as an Attached Agency to improve services for Georgia’s rapidly expanding aging population.  It is cost beneficial to the state for:
    • Budget management aligned with service delivery
    • Streamlined funding for local businesses and community service providers
    • Attracting more federal and private sector grants and pilot programs
    • Innovative leadership for coordination of services with all other departments
    • Careful administration and implementation of the Georgia Alzheimer’s and Related Dementias State Plan
    • Passed House on 2/11/15, by a vote of 160 Yea; 3 Nay
    • Passed Senate on 3/24/15, by a vote of 45 Yea; 1 Nay
    • Now, on to the Governor for his consideration 
  • HR304—Infusion of Gerontology and Dementia Training into Curricula of Institutions of Higher Education in GeorgiaIt is essential that Georgia’s technical schools, colleges and universities infuse/expand Gerontology and Dementia education and training throughout their Academic Curricula.  This will move us closer to a work force who has graduated from programs to providing competency-based training for professionals serving in these areas.
    • Approximately 149,300 jobs are expected to be added to Georgia’s work force between 2010 and 2020.
    • Because of the unique needs of Georgia’s seniors, especially those living with Alzheimer’s or a related dementia, there is a tremendous need especially for professionals entering the fields of medicine, social work, public health, government to not only be conversant with the needs of these special populations, but to understand the aging process and the progression of dementia and the impact of both upon the individual mentally, emotionally, and physically.  Even more urgent is to ensure that those entering those same fields are knowledgeable in the best practices and most current recommendations for those Georgians who are living with Alzheimer’s or a related dementia and their family caregivers.
    • Passed House on 2/25/15, by a vote of 158 Yea; 0 Nay
    • Passed Senate on 3/31/15, by a vote of 47 Yea; 4 Nay
    • Now, on to the Governor for his consideration 
  • SB109—POLST—substitute bill passed—the POLST form completes the Advance Directives in Georgia, as it translates the wishes of the patient into a doctor’s order, which must be adhered to.  This legislation updated the POLST law, allowing protection from liability for health care workers complying with the POLST form, allowing for transferability—forms from other states to be recognized in Georgia, and forms transferable between and among Georgia hospitals, nursing homes, etc.
  • Passed House on 3/31/15, by a vote of 158 Yea; 3 Nay
  • Passed Senate on 4/2/15, by a vote of 51 Yea, 2 Nay
  • Now, on to the Governor for his consideration 

To find the final copy of any of these bills as passed, go to the Georgia General Assembly home page: www.legis.ga.gov.  On the top left-hand side of the vertical menu bar down the left-hand side of the page, determine whether the document you wish to look up is a bill or a resolution, and in which chamber it began.  Then,

  • Select HB for House Bill and insert the bill number
  • Select SB for Senate Bill and insert the bill number
  • Select HR for House Resolution and insert the bill number

GaGenAssembly.png 

About the Governor’s Consideration:  Signing, Not Signing, or Vetoing a Bill— Following Sine Die, the midnight adjournment of the Georgia General Assembly on the last day of each year’s legislative session, the Governor may take the following actions on any bill:

  • After the Governor receives the bill following the end of the Legislative Session, he has 40 days to determine whether to sign the bill and create a new law, or to veto the bill. 
  • If he vetoes the bill, it will then go back to the chamber it originated in during next year’s session to see if they wish to override the veto.  A vetoed bill requires two-thirds vote of the House/Senate in order to override the veto. 
  • He may choose to do nothing at all—if he chooses this option, after the 40 days have passed, the bill will automatically become law. 


2016 Georgia Budget
:

  • Georgia Alzheimer's and Related Dementias State Plan Coordinator Position--full funding request of$107,594 for the position to coordinate the implementation and annual update of the State Plan
  • Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS)—$1.7 million increase--this will take approximately 917 seniors off of the waiting list of over 13,000 Georgians
  • GBI Agents to Focus on Fighting Elder Abuseaddition of 8 agents assigned totally to handling abuse, neglect, and exploitation cases—totaling $1.6 million
  • Technology and Training for the Long Term Care Ombudsmen--$126,904
  • Funding for 11 Adult Protective Services caseworkers—In the Governor's original budget—$693,333


UPDATE ON FEDERAL LEGISLATION
:

  • HOPE for Alzheimer's Act, H.R. 1559/S. 857--was re-introduced this session.  Consistent with the National Plan to Address Alzheimer's Disease, the Health Outcomes, Planning, and Education (HOPE) for Alzheimer's Act would:
    • Provide Medicare coverage for comprehensive care planning services following a dementia diagnosis; the services would be available to both the diagnosed individual and his/her caregiver.
    • Ensure that documentation of a dementia diagnosis and any care planning provided is included in an individual's medical record.
    • Require the Department of Health and Human Services to educate providers about the new benefit and to identify any barriers individuals face in accessing care planning.
    • The bill requires stakeholder input on the scope and requirements of the care planning services.
    • The bill requires a provider outreach campaign to educate practitioners about the benefit in an effort to ensure broad access to the services by beneficiaries.
    • The bill has been modified to take into account a number of developments since it was introduced in 2010, including the passage of the National Alzheimer's Project Act (NAPA) and the Affordable Care Act.  
    • Because diagnostic evaluation is already covered, the bill no longer provides coverage for a diagnosis as part of a package of services.
  • FY 2016 Alzheimer's Research Funding--Congressional action is needed to stay on the path to discovering scientific breakthroughs.
    • In 2012, an expert panel of scientists concluded that a ramp up to $2 billion in annual Alzheimer's research funding is necessary to achieve breakthroughs in developing preventions and effective treatments for Alzheimer's by 2025--the goal established the National Alzheimer's Plan.
    • To achieve this, the next step is for Congress to provide an additional $300 million in NIH Alzheimer's research funding as part of the fiscal 2016 appropriations process.

Interested in looking up Federal or State Legislation? These two sites will help:

For Federal Legislation:

Legislative Information
A service from the U.S. Library of Congress. Includes a schedule of current floor activities in Congress, documentation of all major legislation, summaries of bills and their status, text of the Congressional Record, committee reports, and home pages. Provides information about other Congressional Internet sites, Library of Congress Web links and a directory of e-mail addresses for members of Congress.
     See: https://beta.congress.gov/

For Georgia Legislation: 

To check the status of a bill in the Georgia Legislature, or to see a photo of your GA state senator or GA state representative, go to: www.legis.state.ga.us. On the left-hand menu bar, click on "Search Legislation" to find a specific bill. On the same menu bar, click on "Picture Book," to find a photo of your legislator. It sometimes takes a little time for the picture book to be updated during the first year of the two-year session.