by: Joanne Lynn, MD (@drjoannelynn)
Last year when the Older Americans Act came up for reauthorization, no medical or nursing professional groups provided visable support. Outrageous. This is how our vulnerable patients get Meals on Wheels, housing adaptations, transportation, and so on. Funding has been stagnant for nearly two decades.
If you are a member of American College of Physicians (ACP), please write immediately in support of the Resolution 3-S17 which is reproduced below – comments are due by March 1 – so don’t delay.
Send your supportive comment to email@example.com.
If you are not in ACP – consider whether your professional organizations might support the OAA when it comes up next year. ACP required this process that ends up authorizing their advocacy group to take action – so it takes a year or so to get them aligned. See what other groups will need to be ready.
If we are not there for our patients in need, who will be? Most cities now have 6 month waiting lists for home delivered meals. We do the mop-up for shortcomings like this when elderly and ill folks end up in the ER – but the persons in need suffer and we have to run up the costs. Let’s break the cycle and feed and support people who cannot fend for themselves. Support the Resolution!
Here’s the Resolution:
Resolution 3-S17. Supporting the Older Americans Act
(Sponsor: District of Columbia Chapter)
WHEREAS, the ACP has a long history of being supportive of efforts to improve the health care for the elderly (who are high-risk for the need for social services) as well as in general for other persons who are at-risk for the need for social services; and
WHEREAS, an ACP Mission is to advocate responsible positions on individual health and on public policy relating to health care for the benefit of the public and our patients; and
WHEREAS, the Older Americans Act (OAA)   provides funding for social services to at-risk elderly persons and is up for renewal in 2018; and
WHEREAS, such funding has not increased sufficiently to provide adequate assistance to individuals requiring significant need for social services (e.g, funding for the Older Americans Act has been essentially flat over the past decade though the population 65 and older has increased by over 25% in number in this period of time; and
WHEREAS, individuals who cannot adequately care for themselves without supportive services suffer unnecessarily, spend substantial resources they often cannot afford, and have to rely upon medical care, which is often discontinuous and expensive, occurring in settings such as hospitals and nursing homes; therefore be it
RESOLVED, that the Board of Regents supports the Older Americans Act as official policy; and be it further
RESOLVED, that the Board of Regents will collaborate with other health care professional groups to lobby for the extension of the OAA beyond its current 2018 expiration date, lobby for increased funding for the OAA, and encourage the development of innovative, cost-effective models of care which combine medical and social services in general.