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OIL Board Members meet with Gov. Branstad
Representatives of the Older Iowans Legislature Board of Directors (OIL) met with Gov. Terry Branstad on Monday, Dec. 12th to discuss with him the organization’s 2017 priority issues.
Topping OIL’s agenda for the 2017 legislative session is passage of legislation which would address the state’s direct care workforce shortage and the high turnover rate for health care workers. This subject was the main topic of Governor Brandstad’s speech to members of the Older Iowans Legislature during their annual meeting held this past September in the Iowa House Chamber.
Iowa residents are facing a serious problem of too few health care workers at the same time more older Iowans and individuals with disabilities are in need of care and support.
According to Helene Magee, OIL Chair, there is a high turnover rate (about 60 percent annually) of direct care workers. She said this high turnover rate is related to the lack of job quality reflected in low wages, lack of retirement and other benefits and the lack of consistent and portable educational standards. She said these factors play a big role in the worker shortage.”
Magee said the shortage of needed care workers often results in family caregivers leaving their jobs to care for a loved one and this results in the loss of productivity for the business community and can result in a loss of tax revenue to the state and an increasing demand on Medicaid.
Governor Branstad indicated his support of the OIL workforce bill, which would task and fund the Dept. of Public Health to focus on the recruitment and retention of direct care workers through the Direct Care Workforce Initiative. This initiative would include expansion of the Direct Care Worker Registry, expansion of the competency-based training “Prepare to Care, Mouth Care Matters (oral health funded by Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation) and a public awareness campaign that would attract people to the field.
He emphasized that the state is facing a tight budget. He asked OIL members to work for legislative change which would allow Departments to transfer unused designated funds from one project to another within their allocated budgets.
The Older Iowans Legislature (OIL) is a non-profit, non-partisan, all volunteer stated wide organization sanctioned by the Iowa Legislature to advocate to legislators and the Governor on behalf of a “quality of life” for Iowa’s seniors.
PRIORITY BILLS AND RESOLUTIONS OF THE
OLDER IOWANS LEGISLATURE
The Board of Directors of the Older Iowans Legislature on November 9, 2016 gave preliminary approval to the following OIL Bills and OIL Resolutions:
OIL Bill 16-01A Nursing Home Staff Turnover Report Analysis
- That the Iowa Legislature 1) convene a Nursing Home Staff Turnover Analysis Committee with stakeholder representation and participation from but not limited to the following: Iowa Department of Human Services, Public Health, Inspections and Appeals, Aging, Older Iowans Legislature (OIL), Iowa CareGivers, Leading Age, AARP, Office of the Long Term Care Ombudsman, I4A, The Hale Group, Alzheimer’s Association, Iowa Health Care Association, Managed Care Organizations, one consumer of family caregiver, and two Certified Nursing Assistants to decide what data analysis is needed; 2) require the DHS to conduct the ongoing annual data analysis based upon the recommendations of the Committee and include the analysis portion of the report in the report currently being prepared and submitted annually by DHS to the Legislature that contains the levels of turnover for all occupational titles within the reporting organizations; 3) prepare and submit the first report to the Iowa Legislature by December 31, 2016; 4) post the report on the DHS website; 5) distribute the report to the Committee, all nursing home entities; 6) utilize the analysis findings to inform sound policy and practice decisions related to the quality of care of nursing home resident.
OIL Bill 16-01B Easing Workforce Challenges
- An act to address the critical health and long-term services and support (LTSS) workforce challenges by tasking and funding the Department of Public Health to serve as the “backbone” for addressing recruitment and retention of the direct care workforce and other high demand sectors needed to meet the existing and future needs of Iowans, and in partnership with key public and private stakeholders, and in alignment with recommendations of the Older Iowans Legislature, Elevate Aging Collaborative, Future Ready Iowa Initiative, United Way’s Skills to Compete Coalition, and the Direct Care Workforce Summit, and will include:
- Expanding existing recruitment and retention efforts of the Direct Care Workforce Initiative, including competency based training; specialty endorsements in Alzheimer’s/dementia and oral health, mental health, and other areas, and the needed infrastructure, policies, procedures, and repository to support accurate records and portability of training credentials and certifications;
- Leading a multi-stakeholder and interagency initiative to identify and implement strategies to increase wages/compensation/benefits of those who work in direct care;
- Providing forgivable loans and scholarships for high demand sectors and place a high priority on strategies to attract new and more diverse people to the field, and create ways to help older workers and individuals with disabilities to remain in the field longer;
- Conducting research and data analysis specific to the health and LTSS workforce, and facilitate best practices through public and private partnerships.
OIL Bill 16-02 Elder Abuse (Housing Registered Sexual Predators)
- That the Iowa General Assembly passes legislation that addresses the lack of appropriate geriatric facilities for residents who are registered and/or chronic sexual predators. The legislation would include establishment of a secure facility to handle registered and/or chronic sexual predators without threatening other vulnerable geriatric patients, residents, and tenants. Funding should be provided so the facility could be placed in an existing State building.
OIL Letter of Support for LifeLong Links TM—Iowa’s Aging and Disability Center
- LifeLong Links, Iowa’s Aging and Disability Center, is in place to support all Iowans—aging, individuals with disabilities, veterans, and caregivers of all walks of life—with information and access to resources to support planning and long-term independent living. Facilitated by the Iowa Area Agencies on Aging across the state. LifeLong Links connects local businesses and human services provider groups—Iowans helping Iowans—to support cost effective, positive outcomes for individuals every day.
- We, the Older Iowans Legislature, request the Iowa General Assembly to fully fund LifeLong Links—Iowa’s Aging and Disability Center.
OIL Resolution in support of DIA efforts to expand current elder abuse law
- Resolution to support efforts by the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals (IDIA) to expand Iowa law regarding dependent adults being abused through social media posts.
- IDIA intends to introduce legislation next session to change Iowa law (235E/235B) concerning dependent adult abuse to include social media posts that abuse dignity. The proposed language will involve situations involving the taking and transmission by a caregiver of electronic images of residents, tenants and patients of a facility that abuse their dignity. The Board of Directors of the Older Iowans Legislature will review any proposed language and is authorized to support such advocacy so long as the language is acceptable to the Board.
OIL Resolution for emphasizing healthy aging in the Iowa Healthiest State Initiative
- Request an Executive order directing the Iowa Healthiest State Initiative to emphasize active and healthy aging as a key component to the initiative’s focus.
- Aging Iowans, caregivers, and community providers should have public information and other resources readily accessible about active and healthy aging—plus where to find the information on topics such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, managing chronic health conditions, falls prevention, and long-term services and supports.