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Mary Edwards for a
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North Carolina Division of Aging and Adult Services

Fact Sheet

North Carolina Senior Tar Heel Legislature
2015 Legislative Priorities


Preserve or Restore Optional Medicaid Services
Medicaid is a health insurance program for low-income individuals that is jointly funded by state and federal government. The federal government requires North Carolina’s Medicaid program to cover certain health care services and gives North Carolina’s Medicaid program an option to cover other essential health care services, including dental care, eye care and eyeglasses, prescription drugs, occupational, physical, and speech therapies, hospice, prosthetics and orthotics, podiatry services, community alternative programs, in-home care services, mental health services and rehabilitation services. Failure of North Carolina’s Medicaid program to cover current optional health care services will result in increased suffering, and in some cases, premature death, particularly to the NC citizens on Medicaid who are aged, blind or disabled, and will eventually result in greater Medicaid costs for required Medicaid services. We urge the General Assembly to make no change in the Optional Medicaid services North Carolina now provides to its citizens.

Maintain Funding for Senior Centers
There are approximately 162 senior centers in 96 counties that provide programs and services to enhance the health and wellness of older adults. These services are of significant benefit to help elders remain independent, thus delaying their need for more costly services. Senior Center General Purpose money is vital to support critical center operations. We recommend that the North Carolina General Assembly maintain current Senior Center General Purpose funding to continue meeting the needs of our growing population of older adults.

Strengthen and Fund North Carolina’s Adult Protective Services Program (APS)
North Carolina’s APS Program must be strengthened and funded in order to respond to the accelerated growth in the State’s aging population, some of whom may be victims of abuse, neglect or exploitation. The State of North Carolina provides no funding for North Carolina’s APS Program. County departments of social services are the sole agencies statutorily mandated by NCGS 108A, “Protection of the Abused, Neglected or Exploited Disabled Adult Act,” to provide the APS Program. The only funding for the APS Program is provided by county governments and a decreasing federal Social Services Block Grant. We recommend that the North Carolina General Assembly recognize and value its vulnerable and older citizens by making available $5 million in the State budget to meet the growing need for Adult Protective Services in North Carolina.

Notify Medicare Patients Admitted for Observation
We urge the General Assembly to pass legislation requiring all North Carolina hospitals and other health care facilities that accept patients for overnight stays to formally notify such persons orally and in writing at the time of admission of their status as "In-patient" or "Observation." Such classification is important because it will materially affect the eligibility of these persons for Medicare payment if discharged to a skilled care facility for any post-hospitalization care and rehabilitation. Medicare defines Observation Status as “outpatient treatment,” which is covered by Medicare Part B. However, observation status does not meet the Medicare criteria (three consecutive days as admitted patients) as a “qualifying hospital stay,” which is the requirement for coverage of and payment for any post-hospitalization rehabilitation. As a result many Medicare beneficiaries hospitalized under observation find they are not covered for these required post hospitalization rehabilitation stays.

Home and Community Care Block Grant (HCCBG) Funding
The rapidly increasing NC older adult population continues to place increasing pressure on the system of services, making it extremely difficult for aging adults to age in place where costs are much less than institutional care. The Division of Aging and Adult Services ARMS system, as of June 2014, shows over 13,000 persons in the state on waiting lists for HCCBG services, which is an increase from 2013 and 2012. The funding from local, state and federal sources has remained essentially static over these three years at $61,263,952, and federal funding is still below the FY 2012 level. The North Carolina Senior Tar Heel Legislature requests the General Assembly to restore the $969,549 in cuts from SFY 2013-2014 HCCBG funding and increase its annual funding by the percentage increase equal to the 65 plus population growth of North Carolina.


The North Carolina Senior Tar Heel Legislature was created by the North Carolina General Assembly with the passage of Senate Bill 479 in July of 1993.

The Senior Tar Heel Legislature was created to:

  • Provide information to senior citizens on the legislative process and matters being considered by the North Carolina General Assembly.
  • Promote citizen involvement and advocacy concerning aging issues before the North Carolina General Assembly.
  • Assess the legislative needs of older citizens by convening a forum modeled after the North Carolina General Assembly.

Each of the 100 North Carolina counties is entitled to one delegate to the Senior Tar Heel Legislature. Most counties also have an alternate delegate. Delegates and alternates must be age 60 or older. The North Carolina Division of Aging and Adult Services provide staff support for the Senior Tar Heel Legislature in cooperation with the 16 Area Agencies on Aging, which are responsible for conducting the selection of delegates and alternates.

Mary Edwards of the Division of Aging and Adult Services is the principal staff aide and can be contacted at Mary.Edwards@dhhs.nc.gov.

For more information about the North Carolina Senior Tar Heel Legislature, please contact your county’s Delegate or Alternate or the following members:

Speaker Speaker Pro Tempore
Chuck Youse
Northampton County
197 Hutcheson Drive
Henrico, NC 27845
Dr. Althea Taylor-Jones
Forsyth County
1469 Country Meadow Lane
Kernersville, NC 27284
 
Deputy Speaker Pro Tempore Secretary
Marge Zima
Onslow County
574 Rhodestown Road
Jacksonville, NC 28540
George E. Smith
Johnston County
137 Trillium Way
Clayton, NC 27527

 

 

Last updated December 4, 2014

 

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Adult Protective Services

Home and Community
Care Block Grant

Observation Days

Senior Centers

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