Advocacy

Advocacy Alert!

The Montana State Legislature is in Session Through March or April of 2017

Here are important Bills and Priority Issues of Concern for Older Adults and Those Who Care for Them. To learn more, click on the Bill number:

House Bill 2 – Governor’s Budget: The budget includes major cuts to the Senior and Long Term Care (SLTC) Budget. It establishes the Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias caregiver respite grant program; provides an appropriation and effective dates. Sponsor: Rep. Nancy Balance. Status: In Joint Sub-committees. The committee heard strong testimony on support of the Governor’s proposal to fund Area Agencies on Aging in the amount of 1.5 million or $750,000 per year in the next biennium. Montana Area Agencies (M4A) Testimonies were heard on 1/19. SLTC Budget was heard on 1/17. Agencies Services and Waiver Testimony was heard on 1/18. There was strong attendance and outcry from advocates. AARP MT Executive Council member Fran Viereck delivered testimony. There is no action as of 1/27/2017.

House Bill 17 – Increases the Medicaid home and community based waiver slots and reimbursement rates to expand these services and create incentives for providers. Sponsor: Rep. Ron Ehli. Status: Awaiting a House Human Services Committee hearing.

House Bill 24 – Provides protections to vulnerable individuals from financial exploitation; no appropriation required. Sponsor: Rep. Ron Ehli. Status: Awaiting a House Human Services Committee hearing.

House Bill 35 – Creates a grant program for training volunteer respite providers. Sponsor: Rep. Gordon Pierson. Status: Awaiting a House Human Services Committee hearing.

House Bill 36 – Fund Alzheimer’s Related Services provided by AAAs: HB 36 provides money to the MT Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) to provide information, assistance, public awareness and direct in-home services for family caregivers of those affected by Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. Sponsor: Rep. Gordon Pierson. Status: Awaiting a House Human Services Committee hearing. Note: This Bill is essentially the same as the Area Agencies on Aging funding line item in the Governor’s Budget (HB 2). We are supporting coordinating language between the Governor's Budget line item and this bill.  It will still only be a total of 1.5 million.

House Bill 70 – Strengthen Guardianship Services in MT and Create WINGS Group. Sponsor: Rep. Jessica Karjala. Status: Heard in House Judiciary on 1/16, awaiting action.

House Bill 163 – Requires hospitals to track the name of caregivers when a patient is admitted, notify the caregiver if the patient is discharged or moved, and give the caregiver instructions for care required at home. Sponsor: Rep. Geraldine Custer. Status: Referred to House Human Services Committee.

you can help this week:

1. Identify your legislators by calling the Missoula County Election office at 258-4751.
2. Reach out and email your legislators to voice your support of the important bills listed above. 
3. Subscribe to our Advocacy Alerts to stay informed

Thank you for your interest in advocating for Montana’s older adults and their caregivers!

Straight Talk for Seniors® provides information for older adults, their families, caregivers, and the professionals who serve them on key policy concerns involving the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid, Medicare, and the Older Americans Act.

Straight Talk for Seniors® provides information for older adults, their families, caregivers, and the professionals who serve them on key policy concerns involving the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid, Medicare, and the Older Americans Act.

Legislative Updates and Advocacy

As a nonprofit organization, Missoula Aging Services does not contribute to political parties or candidates nor lobby on their behalf. However, we do actively encourage advocacy and education efforts directed to legislators, government entities and the public with respect to existing or proposed legislation or policies affecting the senior population and those with disabilities. This includes advocating for maintaining or increasing funding to match service demands for a growing aging population in Missoula County. To follow the advocacy efforts for older adults on a national level visit the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging or The National Council on Aging. AARP also provides up-to-date information on public policy issues affecting older adults.

Did you miss the Health Votes Legislative Candidates Forum? You can view the MCAT video of the event here to learn Missoula area candidates' views about health care issues.

Get Involved

Visit our site often to stay informed about the latest issues affecting older adults on a federal, state and local level. We will keep you updated on how you can get involved, impact change and support causes and candidates that are important to you.

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