By Maddy Bynes , PCOA Director of Public Policy & Special Projects Success For Older People at the Legislature!
We’ve had tremendous success at the legislature this year and it is due to your amazing and sustained advocacy! Over the past several months, we’ve asked that you send letters and make phone calls to your legislators encouraging them to fund home and community-based services through the Area Agencies on Aging. This year, thanks to you, we’ve seen both on- going and one-time investments in the Area Agencies on Aging for home and community-based services. Home and community-based services are those critical services that help older adults and people with physical disabilities to continue to live in their own homes, where upwards of 80% wish to remain. These services include activities such as light housekeeping, bedlinen changing, assistance with toileting and bathing, and so much more. This investment into home and community-based services reduces referrals Adult Protective Services for self-neglect, decreases emergency room visits, and delays enrollment into more costly Medicaid services. As the Legislators were crafting their nearly $18 billion budget, they recognized the critical importance Area Agencies on Aging, like PCOA, play in providing home and community-based services and
appropriated a total of $3 million statewide to the effort, representing an increase of $1.5 million to the Network for fiscal year 2023. In addition to your amazing work reaching out to your legislators, we needed legislative champions to push this over the finish line. At the beginning of the Legislative Session, Senator Lela Alston of Phoenix and Representative Alma Hernandez of Tucson both sponsored important legislation to support these services. Appropriations Chairs Representative Regina Cobb and Senator David Gowan both held appropriations hearings and these bills passed unanimously out of their respective committees. However, towards the end of the session funding was still in doubt. Representative Alma Hernandez worked across party lines with Leadership in the House and the Senate to secure this critical funding and ensure that not only did the Area Agencies on Aging avoid funding cuts, but also received an increase to help meet the ever-growing population and demand for service. We all owe a huge thank you to Representative Hernandez, as well as to legislators who supported the
Maddy Bynes, PCOA Director of Public Policy & Special Projects and Representative Alma Hernandez, District 3
funding increase for the Area Agencies on Aging. Please help us say thank you by visiting advocate.pcoa.org and taking action today! And of course, we owe each of you who took action our undying gratitude.
Page 23 | August 2022, Never Too Late
Pima Council on Aging
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