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The Older Iowans Legislature is a statewide non-partisan, non-profit volunteer organization. Its members advocate for state legislators and the Governor to sign legislation that will result in an improved “Quality of Life for Older Iowans”.

The Older Iowans Legislature places special emphasis on the frail elderly; those citizens who have contributed much to our society, but have exhausted their resources and in need of assistance to lead meaningful lives.

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2018 Legislative Session Summary

by Helene Magee, Chair, The Older Iowans Legislature 

The motto of the Older Iowans Legislature is “Pursuing Quality of Life for Older Iowans” and major steps were taken during the recently concluded session of the Iowa Legislature to do just that.

Older Iowans Legislature members and officers realized that the 2018 session would be very challenging because of the state’s budget situation but overall, when all was said and done, the Department of Aging was able to maintain status quo funding.

The exciting news is that the Department on Aging received $100,000 to collaborate with the Department of Human Services on a pilot long term care initiative which will provide options for non-Medicaid consumers who want to live in their community.  The pilot program is modeled on a successful Minnesota program which helps Medicare recipients to receive support services and stay in their own home instead of their conditional needs forcing them into a nursing home. The two positives of this program is that people are much happier being in their own home and it saves money.

The Older Iowans Legislature successfully pushed for action to be taken on finding housing for geriatric sexual offenders. Legislation was passed that during the 2018 legislative interim, the Department on Aging, the Department of Human Services, the Department of Inspections and Appeals and the Department of Corrections, cooperatively, shall review issues and develop policy recommendations relating to housing for geriatric persons, including geriatric individuals who are registered on the sex offender registry or who are sexually aggressive. The review shall address all aspects of the issue including the feasibility of private entities utilizing facilities located at Mount Pleasant, Clarinda, or other vacant, state-owned facilities to are for such geriatric persons; related workforce recruitment and training requirements that a facility must meet in order to receive Medicaid reimbursement; and any other information or issues deemed appropriate by the agencies. The departments shall submit a joint report with recommendations to the governor and the general assembly by DECEMBER 15, 2018.  

Note: OIL Vice Chair Larry Kudej, who also is a member of the Corrections Board, will serve on this committee.

Action was also taken regarding funding for the Long-Term Care Ombudsman program.  This program’s funding was held harmless during the budget process as $1,149,821 was budgeted.  The Ombudsman’s office did not ask for more funding during this session as the program has a new director, Cynthia Pederson, J.D. who is instituting new policies to make the office more efficient while meeting the stated purpose of this office.

The Legislature allocated $812,537 for prevention of elder abuse and neglect and the Office of Substitute Decision Maker which has been renamed to Office of the Public Guardian. 

OIL, through joint effort with the Department on Aging, was able to hold on to a status quo budget of $1,000,000 for Life Long Links and the Area Agencies on Aging to meet unmet needs.

The Legislature authorized the Department on Aging and the Department on Human Services to collaborate to start claiming Medicaid participation rates for the Aging and Disability Resource Center.

Legislation was also passed creating the Future Ready Iowa program which aims to introduce young people to a health care career.  The negative in this piece of legislation is that it didn’t address the position of Certified Nurses Aid but focused on the higher level position. 

This legislative session did not take action on creating a Senior Living Coordinating committee

Composed of the directors of the state department, legislative and citizen representatives responsible for the development of a coordinated strategy for meeting some of the needs of older Iowans.

Overall, as your Chair, I would deem OIL’s work on our legislative priorities as a success. We know that passage of legislation takes time and often we have to keep pressing these issue at every new legislative session.

I want to THANK our Legislative Liaisons Larry Kudej and Bob Welsh for their hard work.  I also want to thank OIL Board Members Tony Vola and Monica McCarthy for keeping a watchful eye on legislative action and representing us at committee hearings. I want to give a salute to Director Linda Miller and her staff at the Department on Aging for their innovation and wise use of our tax dollars. 

A shout out of thanks to OIL Board Secretary Ron Jome for his weekly updates.

  Finally, I must note that Representative Dave Heaton has announced that he will not be a candidate for reelection.  This is sad news for OIL and all of Iowa’s seniors. Rep. Heaton has been a champion in fighting for “a quality of life” for Iowa’s elderly.  Thanks Dave for your many years of service and may you have a long, healthy and happy retirement.  


Report from the Older Iowans Legislature Friday February 2, 2018

Members and friends of the Older Iowans Legislature

Targeted meetings with legislative leadership January 30

On Tuesday January 30, seven members of the Older Iowans Legislature Board of Directors spent five hours at the Iowa Capitol meeting with seven legislative leaders of the House and Senate, one department head, and one assistant to the Governor to more fully explain the Priority Bills/Issues of the Older Iowans Legislature.

Thanks to Helene Magee, Chair of the Older Iowans Legislature, for her telephone and email time in arranging the above meetings before the OIL delegates arrived at the Capitol.

Priority Issues/Bills of the 2017 Older Iowans Legislature 

• Alternative funding of AAA’s for unmet needs

• The 2018 Iowa General Assembly shall make a complete review of the Iowa tax credits and eliminate those credits no longer needed and use a portion of the money saved to provide additional funding to the Iowa Area Agencies on Aging to fund currently unmet needs.

• Housing sexual offenders

• There is a shortage of restricted housing facilities for aging sexual offenders who have completed their sentences but cannot be safely released into the general population. 

• The Iowa Department of Human Services and the Iowa Department of Corrections shall meet to coordinate and attempt to resolve the housing shortage for sexual offenders by instituting an RFP process whereby both in-and out-of-state entities will be asked for restricted proposals for this group.

• Funding Long-Term Care Ombudsman

• Provide additional funding for the Long-Term Care Ombudsman’s Office sufficient to restore the funding cuts in the last FY by one or both of the following two methods:

• Increasing the licensing fees of long term care facilities, and/or

• Earmarking certain fees collected by other agencies for services normally performed by the Long-Term Care Ombudsman’s Office. Examples include the Civil Money Penalty Fund or the Medicaid Fraud Fund.

• Creating a Senior Living Coordinating Committee composed of the directors of state departments and legislative and citizen representatives. 

• The Senior Living Coordinating Committee would be responsible for the development of a coordinated strategy for meeting some of the needs of older adults. 

• Easing the workforce shortage of health care CNA’s and Home Health Aides

2018 Iowa General Assembly bills related to Older Iowans Legislature Priority Issues/Bills

ALTERNATIVE FUNDING OF AAA’s FOR UNMET NEEDS

• House File 2121: A bill for an Act establishing a voter-approved senior services property tax levy.

• "This bill establishes a county senior services property tax levy that may be imposed by the county board of supervisors following receipt of a petition and majority approval at election by the voters of the county. The levy may not exceed 30 cents per $1,000 of assessed value and must be used for the purpose of contracting with persons to provide senior services within the county."

• January 29, 2018: Introduced, referred to Ways and Means

HOUSING SEXUAL OFFENDERS

Identical bills in House and Senate: "The bill provides that the department of human services and the department of corrections shall cooperate in the coordination of resolving the lack of sufficient housing for aging sex offenders who qualify for release from the custody of human services or the department of corrections. The cooperation shall lead to the implementation of a request for proposal process that gives due consideration to in-state and out-of-state placement options utilizing existing facilities including vacant facilities."

• House File 2167: A bill for an Act relating to the placement of sex offenders who qualify for release from the custody of the department of human services or the department of corrections.

• January 31, 2018: Introduced, referred to Public Safety

• February1, 2018: Subcommittee: Worthan, Hager, and Olson

• Senate File 2143: A bill for an Act relating to the placement of sex offenders who qualify for release from the custody of the department of human services or the department of corrections.

• January 31, 2018: Introduced, referred to Judiciary

• January 31, 2018: Subcommittee: Garrett, Schultz, and Taylor

FUNDING LONG-TERM CARE OMBUDSMAN

SENIOR LIVING COORDINATING COMMITTEE

WORKFORCE SHORTAGE OF HEALTH CARE CNA’s

• Senate File 2159: A bill for an Act relating to the implementation of a centralized direct care workforce database.

• " This bill requires the department of inspections and appeals to expand the registry of nurse aides to include a database to maintain the verified education and training records, credentials or certifications, and experience of all direct care workers. The purposes of the centralized direct care workforce database are to increase the portability of direct care worker records, credentials or certifications, and experience across settings; lessen the burden on direct care workers and employers in the recruitment, selection, and employment of direct care workers; and provide the data necessary to ensure a well-prepared direct care workforce to meet the growing demand for these services.

• February 1, 2018: Introduced, referred to Human Resources

• House File 2177: A bill for an Act relating to the planning, development, and implementation of a centralized direct care workforce database.

• "The bill requires the department of inspections and appeals to convene a workgroup of stakeholders to plan, develop, and implement a centralized direct care workforce database as an extension of the Iowa nurse aide registry. The purposes of the database are to ensure that the direct care workforce, employers, and consumers have access to a central database that provides information related to direct care worker verified education and training records, credentials or certifications, and experience; to provide for portability of training and credentials across settings; to lessen the burden on workers and employers and provide employers and consumers with access to information in the recruitment, selection, and employment of direct care workers; and to provide the data necessary to ensure a well-prepared direct care workforce to meet the growing demand for their services."

• February 1, 2018: Introduced, referred to Human Resources

• February 1, 2018: Subcommittee: Jacobsen, Anderson, and Best

• House File 2212: A bill for an Act relating to the implementation of a centralized direct care workforce database

• Similar to House File 2177

CARE ACT

• Senate Study Bill 3123: A bill for an Act providing for the designation of a caregiver relating to a patient’s stay at a hospital.

Ron Jome

Secretary, Board of Directors, Older Iowans Legislature

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