1. Fuel Assistance: Continue funding LIHEAP at same level of total benefits (purchasing power).
2. Long Term Care:
• Decrease delays in Choices for Care eligibility determinations by 1) funding statewide the pilot that was successful at CVCOA and NEKCOA and promoting implementation of presumptive eligibility for home & community-based services.
• Monitor results from summer project, especially with regard to delays at DVHA.
• Monitor work of DAIL Advisory Board sub-committee on Moderate Needs Group.
• Continue to advocate for full statutory parity for home and community based service workers in cost of living increases, as compared with those working in nursing homes.
• Expand transportation services, including public transportation, especially for older Vermonters and people with disabilities and during non-peak hours. Transportation is needed in all areas of the state during the day, evenings and weekends.
• Raise awareness of the connection between the availability of transportation and the quality of life for older Vermonters.
• Work with partners to prevent discontinuation of the three-month retroactive coverage period for individuals applying for LTC Medicaid.
4. Protection of vulnerable adults:
• Work with partners to develop “Improvident Transfers” legislation that will protect elders from financial exploitation in asset or property transfers.
• Continue to work with Adult Protective Services and other partners to strengthen the APS program.
• Work with partners to improve victims’ rights in dealing with abusive practices in debt collection, home improvement and other door-to- door fraud.
5. Senior housing: Support partners in advocating for funding for housing for the lowest income elders (30% of HUD area median income or less).
6. Good nutrition: Advocate for funding for nutrition programs that help older Vermonters to maintain healthy diets.
7. Health care reform:
- Continue to monitor All Payer Model and ACO evolution to make sure older adults continue to receive needed long-term care services: invest in community support systems.
- Support and expand independent watchdog for ACO complaints and a grievance procedure that is accessible for older citizens (or their caregivers).
- Support efforts to control/decrease prescription drug prices. (See next section, #2.)
- Promote better access to non-generics for individuals who cannot take a generic.
- Promote better access to durable medical equipment for Dually Eligible people.
- Promote investment in preventive care.
- Promote parity in access to health care services – caregivers, primary care professionals, nurses, specialists, complementary & alternative medicine.
- Support programs that provide socialization for older Vermonters – a major ingredient in maintaining good health.
8. Support for low and moderate-income older adults:
- Work with partners to re-establish the Poverty Council.
- Mitigate the potential negative effect on property taxes when family members enter into caregiving relationships with other family members and join households.
COVE PARTICIPATES IN COALITIONS ADDRESSING THESE ISSUES:
1. Tax deduction for home modifications (informal coalition led by M.S. Society)
2. Access to local pharmacies (informal coalition led by M.S. Society)
3. Affordable oral health for all Vermonters (Vermont Oral Health for All Coalition)
4. Nutrition (Older Vermonters Nutrition Coalition)
5. Caregiving and workforce issues
- Minimum wage increase to $15/hour (Fight for $15 Coalition)
- Paid family leave (FaMLI Coalition)
6. One Vermont Coalition tax equity proposal – a fairer approach to the state budget
COVE VOLUNTEERS FOLLOW THESE ISSUES & KEEP POLICY COMMITTEE INFORMED AS TO WHEN ACTION MAY BE NEEDED:
- Monitor rail passenger developments throughout the state: commuter rail, Amtrak service and continued improvement of rail passenger/transit interconnections
- SASH continuance and expansion
- Kinship care
- Medicare rule and social security changes that impact state policy in COVE priority areas
- Training & certification for non-medical caregivers (something like the Stars Program for children) – requires clear definition of non-medical caregivers and what qualifications they should have
- Senior center and meal site needs
- Long waiting times to see specialists – Why? What are the consequences?