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2017 LEGISLATIVE ADVOCACY PRIORITIES
INVEST IN THE HEALTH OF THE RAPIDLY INCREASING NUMBER OF OLDER VERMONTERS
Without addressing the physical, mental, social, emotional and financial needs of older Vermonters, we will see an explosion in the health care costs for these individuals in the most expensive settings. Simultaneously, Federal and state funding for programs that immeasurably improve elders' health outcomes and lower health care expenditures have steadily lost ground. These programs include Meals-on-Wheels and service care coordination, health insurance counseling, options counseling for long-term care supports within the community.
VERMONT MUST BE TRULY COMMITTED TO A VIABLE AND SUSTAINABLE SHARED VISION OF HEALTH CARE REFORM
Vermont must strengthen the supports and services provided by the Area Agencies on Aging, Home Health agencies, Adult Day programs and Community Mental Health Agencies, and fully integrate them into the health care system.
CHANGE THE PARADIGM
Health Happens at Home: Focus on these community-based agencies that partner with primary care providers dedicated to keeping people healthy at home and preventing costly hospital and nursing facility stays. We must employ and adequately reimburse community- based providers to help older Vermonters prevent and manage chronic disease.
INVEST IN VERMONT’S HOME & COMMUNITY-BASED DELIVERY SYSTEM
Health care reform will not succeed if Vermont appropriates reimbursement increases for institutional providers while severely starving the community-based delivery system. Prior to the 2016 legislative session, nursing facilities automatically received annual inflationary increases while home & community based services like the AAA’s were flat lined.
INTEGRATE PARITY IN THE BUDGET
The Administration & Legislature must commit to and implement the principle of parity in the upcoming appropriations process and future budgets. The General Assembly’s 2% increase for community-based providers, included in the FY2017 budget, was an extremely important step in the right direction.
HOME-DELIVERED MEALS For older Vermonters who are frail, who have a disability and are at nutritional risk should be a covered service in the Choices for Care Waiver.
A clinically sound care plan must address the needs for nutritional supports. Vermont covers the cost of meals for Medicaid residents in nursing facilities, but refuses to cover nutritional supports for Medicaid recipients who choose to receive long-term care in home & community-based settings. This policy disparity is indefensible.
ESTABLISH A LEGISLATIVE COLLABORATIVE WITH LAWMAKERS COMMITTED TO ADDRESSING THE NEEDS OF OLDER VERMONTERS.
In addition to the above investments, Vermont must work towards
Providing more affordable housing options for seniors
Increase transportation access
Investing in family caregiver support