Scott, Hinojosa, Bonamici Laud Signing of the Older Americans Act Reauthorization into Law
WASHINGTON – Ranking Member Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA-03), Ranking Member Ruben Hinojosa (TX-15), and Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01) issued the following statement on the President signing S. 192, Older Americans Act Reauthorization Act of 2015 – a bill to reauthorize the Older Americans Act – into law:
“We commend our colleagues in the House and Senate for working together to make this day possible and thank President Obama for signing this legislation. Since the Older Americans Act expired in 2011, our nation’s seniors, and the family members and organizations that support them, have faced uncertainty. Today, we reaffirm the importance of the Older Americans Act programs, and we demonstrate our commitment to giving seniors the resources and support they need to live happy and healthy lives.”
FACT SHEET: S. 192, Older Americans Act Reauthorization Act of 2015
S. 192, Older Americans Act Reauthorization Act of 2015, a bill to reauthorize the Older Americans Act, makes needed improvements in the administration of Older Americans Act programs.
Ensures Continued Investment in OAA Programs
- Includes increases in authorization levels for all currently-funded OAA programs over FY 2016 appropriated levels to help close the gap in filling the growing need for OAA programs.
- The vast majority of OAA programs receive a 6.77 percent increase over three years over currently appropriated amounts, and nutrition and supportive services programs receive over 7 percent.
Strengthens the Ability of the Law to Combat Elder Abuse
- To be consistent with current law, updates the definitions of “adult protective services,” “abuse,” “exploitation and financial exploitation,” and “elder justice.”
- Promotes best practices in responding to elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation in long-term care facilities through the Administration on Aging.
- Directs the Administration on Aging to include, as appropriate, training for States, area agencies, and service providers on elder abuse prevention and screening.
Improves the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program
- Allows ombudsmen to serve all residents of long-term care facilities, regardless of age.
- Clarifies that ombudsman may continue to serve residents transitioning from a long-term care facility to a home care setting.
- Clarifies that the ombudsman office is a “health oversight agency” for purposes of HIPAA.
Updates Title III Grants to States Formula
- To account for geographic changes in the older population, adjusts the formula for the Title III programs of supportive services, congregate meals, home meals, and preventive services.
- The formula adjustment would update the 2006 hold harmless provision by using the most recent fiscal year funding as a baseline for an annual dynamic hold harmless, reflecting more recent population trends and ensuring funding better meets the nationwide needs of older adults while also protecting every state from experiencing a negative adjustment of no more than 1 percent a year. After three years, the formula’s hold harmless would again freeze in place at FY 2019 funding levels. Minimum grant states are not affected.
Continues Support for the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP)
- Continues to place value on this important program that promotes gainful employment, community service, intergenerational collaboration, and socialization for seniors.
- Aligns the performance measures in SCSEP with the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) core performance metrics, yet maintains the dual focus of the SCSEP program—to provide community service activities as well as training and employment for low income older adults.
- Eliminates the funding gap between program years and ensures that funds are available to grantees at the start of the new program year.
Encourages Enhancements to Improve Services for Seniors and Their Families
- Directs the Assistant Secretary for Aging at HHS to provide information and technical assistance to States, area agencies on aging, and service providers on providing efficient, person-centered, transportation services, including across geographic boundaries.
- Directs the Assistant Secretary to develop a consumer-friendly tool, when feasible, to assist older individuals and their families in choosing home and community-based services.
Promotes Modernization of Senior Centers
- Directs the Assistant Secretary to provide information and technical assistance to support best practices for the modernization of multipurpose senior centers.
- Encourages efforts to modernize multipurpose senior centers and promote intergenerational models.
Improves the Inclusivity of the National Family Caregiver Support Program
- Clarifies current law so that older adults caring for adult children with disabilities and older adults raising children under 18 are eligible to participate in the Family Caregiver Support Program.
Prevents Fraud and Abuse
- Codifies language around a Medicare program integrity initiative that trains senior volunteers to prevent and identify healthcare fraud and abuse.
Emphasizes Evidence-based Programs & Improves Health Services
- Ensures that, disease prevention and health promotion programs are “evidence-based,” in accordance with current practice.
- Directs the Assistant Secretary to provide technical assistance and share best practices to improve collaboration and coordination with health care entities, such as Federally Qualified Health Centers, to enhance care coordination for individuals with multiple chronic illnesses.
- Updates references of mental health to also include “behavioral health,” as appropriate to reflect the Aging Network’s current practice.
- Adds oral health screenings among disease prevention and health promotion activities.
Improves Nutrition Services
- When feasible, encourages the use of locally grown foods in meals programs.
- Clarifies that, as appropriate, supplemental foods may be part of a home delivered meal at the option of a nutrition services provider.
Supports Holocaust Survivors
- Directs the Assistant Secretary to develop guidance on serving Holocaust survivors through Older Americans Act programs.
Arika Trim (Scott): 202-226-0853
Laura Castillo (Hinojosa): 202-225-2531
Maggie Rousseau (Bonamici): 202-225-0855
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