COVE’s mission is to promote and protect a higher quality of life for Vermont’s elders, through education and advocacy. The needs, concerns, safety and well-being of elders who are economically disadvantaged, physically or mentally challenged, or geographically or socially isolated, are a central focus of our public policy work.
COVE Highest Priorities:
- Development of a Legislative Elder Caucus, through collaboration with aging network partners and Legislative leaders.
- Funding for affordable senior housing for the lowest income elders (30% of Federal Poverty Level or less).
- Adequate state funding for LIHEAP (federal fuel assistance program) to ensure that beneficiaries have at least the same level of purchasing power as they did last year.
- Advocate for expanded Elders & People with Disabilities Transportation services.
- Monitor DVHA’s RFP to put Medicaid Transportation contract out to bid to ensure that services are maintained and improved.
- Raise awareness of the connection between the availability of transportation and the quality of life for elders.
- 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 (APS) and other partners to strengthen the APS program.
- Choices for Care:
- Decrease delays in eligibility determinations by 1) funding statewide the pilot that was successful at CVCOA and NEVAAA and 2) promoting implementation of presumptive eligibility for home & community-based services.(continued on back)
- Health care reform:
- Continue to monitor All Payer Waiver and ACO evolution to make sure elders continue to receive needed services to live with dignity in their homes and their communities.
- Support and expand independent watchdog for ACO complaints and a grievance procedure that is accessible for elders (or their caregivers).
- Monitor efforts to control/decrease prescription drug prices.
- Promote better access to non-generics for individuals who cannot take the generic.
- Promote better access to durable medical equipment for Dual Eligibles.
COVE PARTICIPATES IN COALITIONS ADDRESSING THESE ISSUES:
- Tax credit for home modifications
- Affordable oral health for all Vermonters
- Caregiving and workforce issues
- Increase minimum wage to $15/hour
- Develop paid family leave
- Develop training & certification for non-medical caregivers (something like the Stars Program for children) – accomplishing this will require a clear definition of non-medical caregivers and what qualifications they should have
4. Creation of a state retirement savings plan
5. Efforts to release low-risk older prisoners
COVE VOLUNTEERS FOLLOW THESE ISSUES & KEEP POLICY COMMITTEE INFORMED:
- Monitor rail passenger developments – Montpelier-Burlington-St. Albans commuter rail study, Amtrak service extension Rutland to Burlington – and continued improvement of rail passenger/transit interconnections
- More roundabouts in downtowns & village centers.
- SASH continuance and expansion
- Kinship care
- Medicare rule changes and social security changes that impact state policy in COVE priority areas
- Senior center and meal site needs