Care Connection Discusses Vital Senior Services Bill

KDKD FM 95.3 – Clinton, MO – Advocates for older adults are calling attention to the Senior Services Growth and Development Program bill (House Bill 337) under consideration by Missouri House of Representatives, which is expected to come up for a vote next week.

“Supporters say that this bill is a small step toward restoring badly needed funding for significant unmet needs of seniors,” according to a written House summary of the bill. The Senate is considering the same proposal as Senate Bill 86. The Senior Services Growth and Development Program is a top priority for the Silver Haired Legislature, a formally elected body that advocates for older adults. This year marks the third time the initiative has been introduced in the Legislature.

The bill would provide a continuing source of funding for senior programs without a tax increase. Under the proposal, 5 percent of revenue collected through the existing Insurance Premium Tax would be directed to senior programs and services overseen by the state’s 10 area agencies on aging, including Care Connection for Aging Services. The measure would be
phased in over two years.

The bill has the strong support of the Missouri Association of Area Agencies on Aging (ma4). Catherine Edwards, ma4 Executive Director, appeared before a Legislature committee to advocate for the measure. The AAA core budget was cut in 2008 and has never been fully restored. The senior
population continues to grow, and the cost of services is rising. House Bill 337 would not only help restore core funding, but would provide a sustainable funding source to serve an ever-growing senior population. Without a funding increase, services will shrink.

The AAAs are able to serve only 10 percent of the eligible population. The funding would allow Care Connection and the other area agencies to provide more seniors with services (including home-delivered meals) in their home and prevent unnecessary hospitalizations or placement in nursing homes.

(Care Connection for Aging Services provides opportunities to create positive aging experiences for people 60 and older in West Central Missouri, including Bates, Benton, Carroll, Cedar, Chariton, Henry, Hickory, Johnson, Lafayette, Pettis, Saline, St. Clair and Vernon counties. Call us at 1-800-748-7826.)

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