Renewed Congressional Efforts to Reauthorize Older Americans Act Will Help Solidify Social and Protective Services for Older Americans
Monday, March 21, 2016
Overdue since 2011, reauthorization of the Older Americans Act has passed the U.S. House of Representatives; swift passage in the Senate would finally address a long gap in affirming important protections and programs to help older adults live independently
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NEW YORK (Mar. 21, 2016) –Representing nearly 6,000 healthcare professionals dedicated to improving the health, independence, and quality of life of older adults, the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) commends the U.S. House of Representatives on passing the Older Americans Act (OAA) Reauthorization Act of 2015, key legislation to deliver social and protective services to older Americans through 2018.
Introduced by U.S. Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Patty Murray (D-WA), Richard Burr (R-NC), and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in 2015, the bill would strengthen landmark legislation originally passed in 1965—and overdue for reauthorization since 2011. Among other objectives, the legislation aims to address elder abuse; evidence-based care; effective coordination of services at the federal, state, and local levels; and several other challenges confronting older Americans and their healthcare professionals.
“The OAA reflects our national commitment to protect and provide for generations of older Americans who helped shape the society we now share,” said AGS CEO Nancy E. Lundebjerg, MPA. “It’s important that all branches of government stand behind legislation like the OAA, which reflects the attention and respect that older adults deserve.”
With several minor revisions made in the House, the OAA Reauthorization Act of 2015 will now be sent back to the U.S. Senate for a final vote—the last hurdle on the road to implementation, but one that will still require sustained support from the public and health professionals alike, explains AGS President Steven R. Counsell, MD, AGSF.
“Reauthorizing the OAA is as important as ever to modernizing and improving the aging services network in our country. Progress has taken time, but it’s happened because we’ve worked together to show Congress that reauthorization is a priority,” Dr. Counsell observed.