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NCCOA Current News

November 2018

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  • Disaster Recovery Fund for Seniors: Hurricanes Florence and Michael have left many people in our state in great need of help. In response to this need, several aging organizations and groups including the NC Association on Aging, the NC Association of Area Agencies on Aging, AARP NC, and the Coalition on Aging have partnered to establish the NC Disaster Recovery Fund for Seniors. The purpose of this Fund is to help address the unmet needs and the long-term recovery of older North Carolinians and local aging agencies. The NC Association on Aging (NCAOA) is administering the fund. On-line donations can be made at (designate for Disaster Recovery for Seniors) or checks can be made payable to and mailed to NCAOA at PO Box 10341, Raleigh, NC 27605. In the memo line note "Disaster Fund."
  • Medicaid Waiver Approved: On October 24, North Carolina's Medicaid overhaul cleared a major hurdle with the federal government giving an official nod to plans to switch to a managed-care system. Approval by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in what's known as a Section 1115 Demonstration Waiver means the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services is on track with its Medicaid reform plan. The department will begin transitioning three-quarters of the state's 2.1 million Medicaid patients next November to managed care and away from the current fee-for-service system. The approval also gave a green light for pilot programs to look at alternative ways to improve health, making North Carolina the first state to receive permission to use Medicaid dollars for enhanced case management tools to target what are referred to as social determinants of health such as homelessness, family violence, toxic stress, transportation issues and food insecurity. Other proposals approved by CMS as part of the waiver include using federal matching dollars to treat addictions, including opioids, and a tailored plan for those with significant disabilities and complex behavioral health needs. The state also plans on developing a specialized plan to cover children in the foster care system and provide coverage up to age 26 for those who have aged out of the foster care system, according to the CMS approval letter. Cost was one issue that was debated in the negotiation process, after the state made its initial request to CMS for the waiver in June 2016.

    CMS didn't give North Carolina health officials everything they wanted, though. Among things the state asked for that was denied was the ability to use Medicaid funding to cover uncompensated medical costs the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians' medical system takes on for 13,000 of its tribal members. Also denied was a request to provide short-term behavioral crisis services in non-hospital inpatient facilities, funding for a telemedicine program and Medicaid dollars to address gaps in the state's health care workforce. Also getting a thumbs down from CMS was a proposed program, Carolina Cares, that would have been an alternate way of expanding the Medicaid program to cover the hundreds of thousands of North Carolina adults who are without health care and earn too little to qualify for a subsidy. Carolina Cares was conceived as a backdoor of sorts to Medicaid expansion -- it proposed to have low-income adults in the workforce pay into a health care plan without contributions from state coffers. It has not received the approval of our state legislature. CMS advised that the state needs the support of its own legislature before coming to CMS for permission. (Sarah Ovaska-Few, NC HEALTH NEWS, 10/26/18)

...Read the Entire November News Edition

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Archived News

October 2018

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  • Disaster Recovery Fund for Seniors: Hurricane Florence has left many people in our state in great need for help. We are fortunate that many opportunities to made donations to assist those impacted by the storm have become available. The Coalition is aware that a number of Coalition members have established disaster assistance funds to benefit their constituents or staff of local agencies impacted by the storm. Knowing that there is a great need to help many of our state’s older citizens, several aging organizations and groups including the NC Association on Aging, the NC Association of Area Agencies on Aging, AARP NC, and the Coalition on Aging have partnered to establish the NC Disaster Recovery Fund for Seniors. The purpose of this Fund is to help address the unmet needs and the long-term recovery of older North Carolinians. Funds are being collected to help older adults who many need assistance with housing, food, clothing, transportation, home repairs, medications, and other needs. The NC Association on Aging (NCAOA) is administering the fund and all donations collected will go to help seniors needing assistance. On-line donations can be made at (designate for Disaster Recovery for Seniors) or checks can be made payable to and mailed to NCAOA at PO Box 10341, Raleigh, NC 27605. In the memo line note “Disaster Fund.”
  • Investment in Home Delivered Meals: Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina announced in September a significant investment of $2.6 million in three nonprofits fighting hunger across the state: Food Bank of Central and Eastern NC, Meals on Wheels of NC, and MANNA Food Bank. The funds will support food assistance programs and increase access to healthy foods in underserved communities across more than 65 of North Carolina’s counties. $1.2 million of the Blue Cross NC funds will be allocated to support day-to-day functions of Meals on Wheels providers across the 40 most economically distress (Tier 1) counties in the state. Over a 3-year period, the investment of $30,000 per county ($10,000 per year) has the potential to deliver almost 200,000 meals across the state. (Blue Cross NC Press Release)

...Read the Entire October News Edition

August 2018

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  • Consider Becoming a Sponsor of the Coalition’s Annual Meeting/Luncheon: Sponsorships, at four different levels, are still available for the annual meeting/luncheon. Outside of membership dues, sponsorships of the annual meeting and luncheon are the largest source of financial support for the Coalition. In addition to helping the Coalition, sponsors also receive a number of perks. To find out more, contact Mary Bethel at
  • Judges Rule and Another Special Legisaltive Session Scheduled: After a loss in court on Tuesday, legislative leaders called for a special session for Friday, August 24, to rewrite ballot questions for two proposed constitutional amendments. A three-judge panel sided Tuesday with Gov. Roy Cooper, who had sued to stop two amendments that would shift many of the governor's appointment powers to the legislature. All five living former North Carolina governors have come out against these two amendments and, on Thursday, all six living former chief justices of the state Supreme Court came out against them as well. The 2-1 ruling by the judges found that the questions on the ballot would mislead voters about the true impacts of the amendments. The court order gives legislative leaders two options to keep the proposed amendments on November's ballot: Appeal the decision or "act immediately to correct the problems in the language of the Ballot Questions so that these proposed amendments, properly identified and described, may yet appear on the November 2018 general election ballot." Attorneys for legislative leaders filed a notice of appeal on Wednesday afternoon with the NC Court of Appeals and called for the special session on Thursday. Late Thursday evening, legislative leaders released the language legislators will start from when they convene Friday to rework the proposed constitutional amendments. To read more about this, click here and here. (@NCCapitol)

...Read the Entire August News Edition

July 2018

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  • Coalition Seeking Nominations for Board of Directors: Nominations are currently being accepted by the Coalition on Aging for its first Board of Directors. As a part of the process for pursuing becoming a 501(c)3 organization, the Coalition adopted new by-laws at its membership meeting on June 22. Establishing a Board of Directors is a provision in the by-laws. Information about the duties of Board members, other details pertaining to the Board, and a Board member nomination form can be found in an attachment to the e-mail transmitting this Update. The deadline for nominations is August 10. Completed nomination forms should be sent to Bill Lamb, Past President of the Coalition and Chair of the Nominating Committee, at
  • General Assembly Holds Surprise Special Session: On July 24, the state legislature held a quickly called one day extra session to pass two election-related bills. One bill passed will likely mean the six proposed constitutional amendments on the ballot in the fall election will not have titles. Republican noted the bill was necessary because there was fear that the Constitutional Amendments Publication Commission (composed of two Democrats and one Republican) which was established in 2016 to write the titles of Constitutional Amendments was under pressure to politicize the titles. The second bill passed would remove the party affiliation from any candidate who switched parties less than 90 days before filing for office. The 90 day deadline was removed by legislators last year when they cancelled judicial primaries this year. The bill was prompted by the fact a former Democrat filed as a Republican for the State Supreme Court race. The presence of two Republicans on the ballot was seen as a potential threat to the re-election of Republican Justice Barbara Jackson. Read more about this at NCCapitol and at the News and Observer.

...Read the Entire July News Edition

June 2018

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  • New State Aging Director Named: Joyce Massey-Smith has been named as the Director of the NC Division of Aging and Adult Services (DAAS) effective June 29. Joyce is no stranger to the aging network. She has worked at DAAS since March of 1996, first as an Adult Program Representative and most recently as Section Chief for Adult Services. She also worked previously as the Area Agency on Aging Administrator at the Northwest Piedmont Council of Governments in Winston Salem (now merged with the Piedmont Triad Regional Council) for a number of years. In making the announcement, Michael A. Becketts, Assistant Secretary for Human Services with the NC Department of Health and Human Services, noted that Joyce brings to her new position experience in the two primary areas DAAS serves; aging and services to adults and that she is passionate about her work and supports innovative ways to improve the Department’s work and how it supports county departments of social services, Area Agencies on Aging, and community stakeholders.
  • Legislative Session Winds Down: The 2018 short legislative session is drawing to a close, probably by the end of this week. We have kept Coalition members updated throughout the session relative to actions pertaining to aging and issues which impact older adults and their families. When all was said and done, there was approximately $1 million appropriated to support services to keep seniors in their homes and communities (Home and Community Block Grant) and another $1 million to support adult guardianship. In addition, the Budget Technical Corrections Bill appropriated $5.5 million to increase the rate for the Medicaid Community Alternatives Program for Disabled Adults (CAP-DA). There were no bills that specially addressed aging issues that have passed this session; however, there are several that certainly have ramifications for older adults and are of interest to aging advocates. A summary will be provided following the end of the session. There is more to this article...

...Read the Enitre June News Edition

May 2018

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  • Legislature Reconvenes: The start of the short legislative session on Wednesday was anything but routine as approximately 20,000 North Carolina teachers and their supporters gathered in Raleigh for the "March for Students and Rally for Respect" and to take their message to legislators for increasing teacher pay and education spending. As the session gets underway, there is speculation that this session will truly be short in duration. House and Senate Republican budget leaders have been meeting behind closed doors for several weeks in hopes of developing a spending deal quickly. Adjusting the second year of the budget is the primary job of legislators during the short session. House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate leader Phil Berger have already announced that the two chambers have agreed on a spending target of $23.9 billion. That is about $270 million above what legislators approved for next year in last year's budget bill. Senate leader Burger has said that the Senate, which takes the lead on budget development this session, should have something to start voting on in early June.

    In making budget decisions, legislators will have more money to work with this session. The state expects to collect $357 million more than anticipated this current year, according to state economists. This makes the fourth consecutive year in which the state will record a surplus. These extra collections also led state economists to predict there will be an additional $277 million at the state's disposal for the next fiscal year starting July 1st.

    In addition to budget deliberations, priority issues that the legislature is expected to take up include prison security, school safety, and water contamination. House Republicans are also studying several amendments to the constitution and will announce soon which ones will get a vote. Options being considered include amendments requiring a photo ID to vote, protecting crime victim’s rights, protecting the right to hunt and fish, and banning lawmakers from raising the income tax rate higher than 5.5%. Action is also expected from legislators on proposals from state agencies and legislative study committees that met during the interim, most of which aren't controversial. One thing that may not be on the agenda for the short session, however, is a controversial plan to redraw judicial districts. Legislative leaders say there is still not consensus on this matter.

    To view full calendar review the entire May News Update
  • Coalition Advocacy in Short Legislative Session: As announced previously, the Coalition on Aging will have a Virtual Advocacy Day on May 22. Members are encouraged to make calls and send e-mails to their Senate and House members as well as Health and Human Service Committee leadership regarding our priority issues. Contact information for members of the Senate can be found here and for the House here. On June 6, Coalition members who are available, are also invited to meet at the Legislative Building to make in-person visits with legislators about our priorities. More details about the May 22 Virtual Advocacy Day and the June 22 visits will be shared at the May 18 Coalition on Aging meeting.

...Read the May News Edition

April 2018

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  • What’s Next on the Federal Funding Front: President Trump has reported that he is hearing from many constituents about the increased level of funding in the Omnibus bill and the raising of the caps on annual spending, and he has indicated that he is considering a proposal to rescind some of the funding. Key Republican members of Congress have indicated that a rescissions package is a “non-starter as they are concerned about how moving forward with such a package would affect future bipartisan negotiations over spending bills. Congress is now working on FY 19 appropriations. Republican appropriation leaders in both the House and Senate have already held strategy sessions to talk about how to get individual spending bills to the floor as soon as possible. A fast paced spring schedule is planned with markups slated to start up weeks earlier than last year. First floor votes could come as soon as early June with action on all 12 appropriation bills by the July Fourth break. An important driver in this process is the fact that it is an election year and many House and Senate members are in competitive races and they want to get the budget done as soon as possible so they can spend time on the campaign trail.

    The Division is currently checking about the use of technology to join the sessions and will communicate if this is possible. For registration information, click on the April News Edition link below.
  • Aging Policy Listening Sessions: As was announced at last Friday’s Coalition meeting, the NC Division of Aging and Adult Services has added two additional Aging Policy Listening Sessions for the 2019-2023 State Aging Services Plan. This brings to five the number of listening sessions that will be held in May and June. These Listening Sessions, which are co-hosted by the NC Association of Area Agencies on Aging, will help identify the needs of the state’s older citizens, disabled adults, and their caregivers. As noted, the information gathered will also inform North Carolina’s 2019-2023 Aging Services Plan and will likely guide policy work for the Division, the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), and other agencies of state government in the next several years. Therefore, it is important that aging consumers, providers, and advocates come out in full force at these Sessions to make their voices heard. DHHS Assistant Secretary for Human Services, Michael Becketts, indicated at Friday’s Coalition meeting that it is his intention to attend all of the Listening Sessions if possible. Within the next two weeks, the Coalition will be sending materials to members that can be helpful in preparing remarks about priorities of the Coalition. The dates and locations of the listening sessions can be found by clicking on the April News Edition link below.

...Read the April News Edition

March 2018

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  • Older Drivers: North Carolina ranks fifth-highest in the U.S. for the percentage of fatal traffic accidents involving older drivers, according to a report by TRIP, a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit transportation research group that evaluates economic and technical data on surface transportation. According to the report, the number of older drivers who are involved or killed in traffic crashes is rising even faster than the number of people who are 65 or older. North Carolina ranks ninth nationally for the number of licensed drivers -- nearly 1.4 million -- who are 65 and older, but the state ranked fifth for the number of traffic fatalities that involved at least one older driver (285) in 2016.

    The 46 million Americans 65 or older comprise 15% of the population, TRIP says, but by 2060, their proportion of the population is expected to reach 24%. According to the group, nearly 80% live in car-dependent places such as suburbs and rural areas. The report attributes the rising number of fatalities involving older drivers, in part, to physical frailties that make them less likely to survive a crash. While older drivers tend to be more cautious than most on the road, they're also likely to have poorer eyesight, reaction time, cognitive ability and physical dexterity, it says. In response to the report, Gary Salamido, vice president of Government Affairs for the North Carolina Chamber, said in a statement. "An additional two million people are expected to call North Carolina home by 2030, with nearly one-third of these individuals aged 65 years or older. TRIP's report highlights the need for increased safety measures on all of North Carolina's roadways, which should be a top priority for the North Carolina Department of Transportation."
  • Alzheimer’s 2018 Facts and Figures: The Alzheimer’s Association released its 2018 Facts and Figures on March 20. According the information released, 5.7 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s, and by 2050, this number is projected to rise to nearly 14 million. In North Carolina, 170,000 people 65 and older are estimated to have Alzheimer’s. In 2018, Alzheimer’s and other dementias will cost the nation $277 billion. By 2050, these costs could rise as high as $1.1 trillion. An estimated 16.1 million Americans provide unpaid care for persons with Alzheimer’s or other dementias. These caregivers provided an estimated 18.4 billion hours of care valued at over $232 billion. There are 466,000 caregivers in North Carolina providing unpaid care for persons with Alzheimer’s or other dementias. These caregivers provide 531 million hours of unpaid care valued at $6,707,000,000. The estimated lifetime cost of caring for someone with dementia is $341,840. The report notes that Medicaid costs for caring for people with Alzheimer’s in North Carolina is an estimated $1.188 billion. The per capita Medicare spending on people with dementia in 2017 was $21,477.

...Read the March News Edition

February 2018

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  • Special Legislative Session Ends: The state General Assembly wrapped up its latest special legislative session last week after passing HB 90, and omnibus bill covering class size reductions, adjusting composition of the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement, and the mitigation fund for counties impacted by the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Legislators are expected back in Raleigh on May 16 for the traditional short legislative session baring any special sessions that pop up between now and then. Interim Committees will continue their work, including working on plans for judicial redistricting.
  • Veterans Programs: The N.C. Department of Military and Veteran Affairs (DMVA) says that the state needs a comprehensive and strategic plan to address challenges facing veterans and their families. Larry Hall, secretary of the DMVA, presented the agency's findings to lawmakers on February 6 during a joint oversight committee meeting. The department's findings were part of a study required by SB 62, which was signed into law last year. The study covered potential methods of documenting, collecting and analyzing the outcome of various programs in the state on individual military veterans and their families. According to the recommendations, the plan should include a monitoring and evaluation component for each program or service, and a comprehensive inventory of all programs, services and other benefits available. Hall also laid out three additional recommendations that would need legislative action, including appropriating resources so the DMVA can develop a comprehensive strategic plan for veterans and their dependents. The other recommendations included creating a comprehensive and current inventory of veterans' program in the state and establishing an interim legislative committee or directing one to study solutions for increasing access to the programs. (The Insider, 2/7/18).

...Read the February News Edition

January 2018

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  • Rate Hike Rejected: North Carolina's Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey has rejected a proposed 18.7% increase on home insurance rates proposed by the NC Rate Bureau. The Rate Bureau, which represents the industry, had asked in November for the statewide increase, which would range from an increase of 80.5 percent in some coastal counties to a decrease of 7.1 percent in parts of western North Carolina. If the Insurance Department and the Rate Bureau can not settle the matter, Causey would preside over a July hearing and issue a decision. The Rate Bureau could appeal Causey’s ruling to the state Court of Appeals. Read more here.
  • Medicaid Work Requirements: North Carolina, along with ten other states, has received permission from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to require Medicaid recipients, with some exceptions, to either work or participate in activities such as job training and volunteering in order to qualify for benefits. The ruling from CMS affects the federal Medicaid waiver request submitted by the McCrory administration in June 2016 and amended November 20 by the Cooper administration. The state’s request for the work requirement applies only if Medicaid expansion, which has been opposed by our state legislature, comes to fruition here. Governor Cooper's administration has not asked for permission to add work requirements to the state's existing Medicaid health insurance program, which covers more than 2 million people. Click here to read a NC Health News story on this.

...Read the January News Edition

December 2017

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  • Coalition President Testifies Before Aging Subcommittee: Coalition President, Mary Bethel, joined 10 other presenters is addressing the Aging Subcommittee of the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Health and Human Services on December 13 to share ideas on the needs of older North Carolinians and recommendations for addressing these needs. She provided brief details about the Coalition and who are members are before discussing our priorities for the 2018 legislative session. She also addressed several system issues impacting aging in the state including: not enough people working in the aging field (particularly the shortage of direct care workers); lack of availability of services in many communities; shortage of safe, adequate, and affordable housing; and transportation challenges. She also noted some of the potential impacts on older adults and states such as North Carolina from the expected passage of new proposed federal tax reform legislation. To see a copy of all the handouts from the meeting, including Mary’s, click here.
  • Continuing Resolution Likely to Keep Government Running: With all the attention being paid in Washington to the tax reform vote, looming on the horizon is the prospect that the federal government could shut down after Friday if the House and Senate do not approve a spending deal. A continuing resolution passed earlier in the month expires on December 22, and leaders in both chambers face a sticky situation as they have promised their members things that will not be supported in the other chamber. It is expected that another continuing resolution will likely be passed later this week kicking the budget approval process down the road to the new year. To learn more about this, click here.

...Read the December News Edition

November 2017 - Part 1

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  • State DHHS Releases Requests for Information: – The NC Department of Health and Human Services is asking health care providers, health plans, and other stakeholders to provide information that will help the Department transform the state Medicaid and NC Health Choice programs to managed care. Two Requests for Information were released the first of November – one addresses managed care operations, including a statement of interest from prospective prepaid health plans (PHPs) and the other addresses the financial aspects of managed care, including information on the proposed capitation rate setting methodology. Responses to the Managed Care Request for Information will be accepted by DHHS until 2 p.m. on November 22 and to will be received on the Statement of Interest and Financial Request for Information until 2 p.m. on December 1.
  • President Nominates New Health and Human Services Secretary: – On November 13, President Trump nominated Alex M. Azar II, a former president of the American division of Eli Lilly and a health official in the George W. Bush administration, as the Secretary of Health and Human Services. Mr. Azar is a lawyer and a health care expert who is no fan of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). He recently called the ACA a "fundamentally broken system." Read more about the appointment here.

...Read the entire EARLY November News Edition

November 2017 - Part 2

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  • Rep. William Brisson who represents parts of Bladen, Johnston, and Sampson counties has changed his voter affiliation from Democrat to Republican. The switch gives the Republicans 75 of the 120 seats in the House which means that Democrats will have to pick up four seats in the next election to end the Republican veto-proof majority in the House. In the past, Rep. Brisson has frequently aligned with Republican colleagues on major legislation.
  • ARep. Susan Martin – (R-Wilson) has announced that she will not seek a fourth term in the state House next year. She chairs the House Commerce and Job Development Committee, chairs the House Finance Committee, and serves as a vice chairwoman on the House Regulatory Reform Committee. Under a proposed redraw of legislative voting maps, she would have to face Rep. Jean Farmer-Butterfield (D-Wilson) in the House District 24 race next year or move to remain in her current House District 8.
  • Chris Fitzsimon,, the founding director of NC Policy Watch, is leaving this position after 13 years to work for The Newsroom, a new non-profit incubator that will help establish and manage a network of projects similar to NC Policy Watch in states across the country. He will continue to live in the Triangle area and will also continue as a semi-regular Policy Watch columnist and as a weekly cast member of the syndicated political TV talk show, NC SPIN. Prior to joining Policy Watch, he worked as a reporter, assistant to House Speaker Dan Blue and was founder and executive director of the Common Sense Foundation.

...Read the entire LATE November News Edition

October 2017

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  • Aging Subcommittee Named: As was reported to Coalition members last week, the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Health and Human Services has announced that it has established an Aging Subcommittee to examine the state's delivery of services for older adults in order to determine their needs and to make recommendations on how to address these needs. Establishing a joint legislative committee to examine the issues pertaining to the state's growing older adult population was a priority of the Coalition in the 2017 legislative session. A provision was included in Senate Bill 257 (the Budget Bill) which stipulated that the co-chairs of the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Health and Human Services "may consider" appointing a Subcommittee. We are grateful that the co-chairs decided to exercise the option to appoint the Subcommittee.
  • State Legislative Action: : The NC General Assembly met this week for the fourth time since adjourning the traditional "long session" in June. Among other things, the legislature voted to override Gov. Roy Cooper's veto of a measure that would cancel all judicial primary elections in 2018. Legislative leaders say they are canceling the judicial primaries because the primary will likely be delayed as they intend to redraw the state's superior and district court districts by next spring.

...Read the October News Edition

...Supplement to the October News Edition

September 2017

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  • General Assembly Returns in October: State lawmakers will return to Raleigh again at 12 p.m. on October 4. This marks the third time for them to convene since their regular session ended in June. Under the adjournment resolution approved, they will be able to take votes on just about any issue they want. The resolution specifies more than 13 criteria for what bills can be considered. Some potential matters include veto over-rides, redrawing the state's judicial districts, impeachment proceedings (Rep. Chris Mills had proposed relative to Secretary of State Elaine Marshall), and proposed amendments to the state constitution.
  • NC Public Transportation Division Strategic Plan Community Workshops: The NC Department of Transportation is developing the Public Transportation Statewide Strategic Plan to improve bus, rail, and paratransit services across the state by better matching transit services to the needs of North Carolinians. In October, stakeholders and the public are invited to provide input at community workshops across the state as part of the Public Transportation Statewide Strategic Plan. The workshops are free and open to the public. No registration is necessary to attend. For more information on the Statewide Strategic Plan and the community workshops, click here.

...Read the entire September News Edition

August 2017

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  • Federal Budget Developments - The deadline for Congress to fund government programs for the next fiscal year which begins October 1 is fast approaching. With the attention focused on the ACA in July, the public's attention shifted away from budget deliberations. NCOA did a good summary the end of July about where things stand in the budgeting process. As noted in the summary, Rep. David Price from our state offered an amendment during the Appropriation Committee debate on the Labor-HHS bill to restore funding for the Administration for Community Living programs that were proposed to be cut, including the SHIP (Medicare State Health Insurance Assistance Program). The amendment was not approved along party lines, but Labor-HHS Chairman Tom Cole (R-OK) offered to work with colleagues to restore funding as the process moves forward.
  • State Health and Human Services Budget - : In case you missed it, NC Health News has done a summary of provisions in the recently passed state budget for 2017 related to health and human services and compares what was passed with what was proposed by the House and Senate. To see a copy of the comparison document, click here.

...Read the entire August News Edition

July 2017

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  • Legislature Adjourns (For Now) - The "regular" long legislative session concluded around 2 a.m. on June 30. In the closing week of the session, lawmakers approved over 100 bills and sent them to Governor Cooper for his signature. At this time, most of those bills remain on his desk for his review. When the long session concludes, the legislature typically does not convene again until the "short session" begins the following spring. This year; however, the adjournment resolution adds at least two additional legislative sessions in 2017. A session to start on August 3 is scheduled so the legislature can address a variety of topics including voting to override any vetoes from the Governor, making appointments, approving bills currently in negotiations between the House and Senate or bills involving impeachment of an elected official, and responding to lawsuits including any court order on redistricting. The session starting on September 6 could focus on items left from the August session and redistricting including redistricting plans for judicial and prosecutorial districts. The adjournment resolution also includes a final deadline of November 15 for court-ordered legislative redistricting to be completed. House and Senate leaders have appointed new redistricting committees.
  • U.S. Senate Set to Unveil New Health Care Bill - Yesterday Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that Senate Republicans will unveil a new version of their health care bill this Thursday, July 13, and a new CBO score on the bill is expected early next week. He also announced that the Senate August recess has been delayed until the third week in August in order to allow more time for his conference to complete its work on health care reform and other tasks, including processing the backlog of nominations for positions. The struggles the Senate is having in getting support for its health care reform proposal have been well covered by media sources. Also receiving increased attention are stories about the potential impact reform proposals could have on consumers, including older adults, as well as state Medicaid programs. Several reports of note include the following:
    On July 11, the Leadership Council of Aging Organizations sent a letter to Senator McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer expressing their strong opposition to the provisions of the Senate reform bill (Better Care Reconciliation Act) because of the harm they would inflict on our nation's seniors and their families.

    A June 30 and July 1 poll from Public Policy Polling found that only 33% of North Carolinians surveyed said they approve of the Senate reform bill while 53% said they disapprove of the bill.

...Read the entire July News Edition

June 2017 - Part 1

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  • Judge Rules for State Retirees in Health Insurance Premium Litigation –A state trial judge has ruled that it was wrong to require retired state workers and teachers to begin paying health insurance premiums six years ago. In 2012, retirees sued after the state legislature directed the state employee health insurance plan to mandate that they make monthly contributions to receive what had been standard insurance coverage for decades. In the ruling, Superior Court Judge Edwin Wilson noted that retirees had a contractual right as part of their work agreement to receive the standard coverage without a premium. He ordered the state to reimburse retirees for premium payments they made to retain the "80/20" plan and offer that plan as it existed in 2011 premium-free for the rest of their lives. To read more about this, click here. A News and Observer editorial can also be found here.
  • Mark Your Calendar for Coalition's Annual Meeting –The Coalition's 2017 annual meeting will be held on Friday, September 22, at 12:00 noon (registration at 11:30 a.m.) at the NC State University Club located at 4200 Hillsborough Street in Raleigh. This is the same location as last year's meeting. Keynote speaker this year will be Dr. James H. Johnson Jr. who is the William R. Kenan Jr. Distinguished Professor for strategy and entrepreneurship at the UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School. He is also director of the Urban Investment Strategies Center at the Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise where he started the Elder Care Economy Innovations Hub. Dr. Johnson is a much sought after speaker and we are pleased that he has agreed to address our meeting. Registration information about the meeting will be available next month.

...Read the entire EARLY June News Edition

June 2017 - Part 2

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  • Sarah Smith joined the staff of the NC Division of Aging and Adult Services as Adult Services Program Administrator effective June 5. Prior to coming to the Division, she worked in Montgomery County where she most was recently the Adult Services Supervisor. She also worked there as an Adult Services Social Worker.
  • AARP, with support of the nation's leading organizations behind quality long-term care – The Commonwealth Fund and the SCAN Foundation – has released a state-by-state Long-Term Services and Supports Scorecard (2017 Edition) that takes a multi-dimensional approach to measure state level performance of long-term services and supports systems that assist older people, people with disabilities, and family caregivers. The Scorecard examines each state's performance using 25 data indicators and measures changes in performance since the second Scorecard which was released in 2014. The full report is available at and the report for North Carolina is available here.
  • Flu season is over, and this years was deadlier than usual. North Carolina health officials recorded more deaths to flu complications this season than in any year since they began tracking them in 2009. Click here to learn more.
  • We are saddened to learn that Ruth Mitchell, long time aging professional and advocate, passed away on June 9. She was Director for the Center for Active Retirement in Rockingham County. Ruth had a warm and outgoing personality and always went the extra step to help others. She will be missed. Her family, friends, and co-workers are in our thoughts.

...Read the entire LATE June News Edition

May 2017 - News Edition

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  • A 2015 study of home delivered meal participants which was conducted by Brown University's Center for Gerontology and Healthcare Research and funded by AARP found that participation in the traditional Meals on Wheels program (those receiving daily meals delivered by a volunteer who provides a friendly visit and safety check) has a significant, positive impact on the health, wellbeing, and social connectedness of homebound seniors. Key findings of the study were that older adults who received daily meals exhibited improvements in their mental health, were less lonely, felt connected and less isolated, felt more confident about living independently in their own home, ate healthier food, and experienced reduced rates of hospitalizations and falls when compared to seniors who did not receive the service. The return on investment demonstrated by the program was significant.
  • Medicare recognizes a list of medications – that can be potentially inappropriate for older adults called the Beers List. The list includes commonly prescribed prescription medications such as proton pump inhibitors and opioids. Older adults who take these medications at higher doses over long periods of time are at higher risk for complications Many of the medicines need to be tapered over time and not stopped cold turkey.

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April 2017 - News Edition

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  • NC Retirement Reform Bill Introduced - Senate Bill 467 which was introduced the end of March by Senators Andy Wells, Bill Rabon, and Ron Rabin would make dramatic changes in the benefits offered to future state employees. The Bill provisions stipulate that state workers hired after July 20118 would not be eligible for enrollment in the state health insurance plan when they retire and most new workers would not be eligible for state pensions, but would be offered the option of enrolling in 401(k) plans. The State Employees Association of NC and the NC Retired Governmental Employees Association, both Coalition on Aging members, note that ending these benefits would hurt job recruitment as many employees work for the state at below-market wages because they will receive a pension and health insurance benefits in retirement. Senate Bill 467 has been referred to the Senate Appropriations Committee on Pensions, Compensation, and Benefits.
  • What's Next for ACA? – Several media outlets are reporting that President Donald Trump is now saying that he is determined to resurrect the health care bill even if it means delaying tax overhaul. Last month after the US House of Representatives failed to pass a plan to repeal and replace Obamacare, the President said that he was prepared to put the defeat of the bill behind him and move on to the next challenge, rewriting the tax code. To read more about this and to keep updated on developments related to health news, including the health care law, check out Kaiser Health News.

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March 2017 - News Edition

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  • Pitt County Council on Aging Hosts Legislative Breakfast - On Monday, the Pitt County on Aging hosted a legislative breakfast attended by more than 150 people. The future of the nation's health care system – specifically the ability to obtain health insurance – dominated the discussion. The event was attended by U.S. Reps. Walter Jones and G.K. Butterfield and state legislators Rep. Greg Murphy, Rep. Jean Farmer-Butterfield and Sen. Don Davis. Sen. Tom Tillis' office was represented by staff member Brian Brown. With Congress and our State Legislature in full swing and many important issues on the agenda, now is a great time to schedule local events with elected officials.
  • Bi-Partisan Bill Introduced to Establish Aging Subcommittee – We are excited that at the urging of the Coalition, four members of the House have introduced House Bill 248 which would establish an Aging Subcommittee of the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Health and Human Services (HHS). Establishing a joint legislative committee was a key priority of the Coalition. The Subcommittee would be comprised of 21 members and would be charged with studying a variety of issues related to aging including issues pertaining to working caregivers for older persons, also a priority of the Coalition. Sponsors of the legislation are Reps. Josh Dobson (co-chair of the House Appropriations Committee on Health and Human Services as well as the House Health Committee), Rep. Becky Carney, Rep. Michele Presnell, and Rep. Donna White (former employee of the NC Division of Aging and Adult Services who is on the House Aging Committee). The bill has been referred to the House Health Committee. It has 20 co-sponsors coming from both parties. Please take time to thank the bill sponsors and co-sponsors for their support.

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February 2017

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  • Legislation Filed to Cap Taxes - Coming as no surprise, Senate Republican leaders have introduced legislation again this session that would cap personal income taxes by amending the state constitution. Senate Bill 75 would prevent legislators from raising the income tax rate higher than 5.5% if voters approve the constitutional amendment in a ballot referendum that would be held during the November 2018 election. At this time, the constitution caps income tax rates at 10%. The current personal tax rate is 5.499% so the amendment would prevent any future tax hikes. The Bill is likely to face stiff opposition from Democrats and numerous advocacy group which argue that the amendment would prevent our legislature from having flexibility to set tax rates based on the state's needs and would limit flexibility and force cuts to services or shifts to other taxes.
  • Benton Named HHS Deputy Secretary – Although not officially announced by the NC Department of Health and Human Services, it is widely known that Mark Benton has been named as Deputy Secretary of the Department. Mark is no stranger to North Carolina state government. He previously held senior leadership positions in HHS including service as the State Medicaid Director, Senior Deputy Director and Chief Operating Officer of the Division of Medical Assistance, and as Assistant Director/Chief of Budget and Planning of the Division of Facility Services (now Division of Health Service Regulation). He also served as President and Chief Operating Officer of Community Care of North Carolina and was with the Millbank Memorial Fund in New York for six years where he worked with elected and appointed officials from across the country and internationally on efforts to reduce health care costs, implement evidence-informed health policies and improve population health.

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January 2017 - News Edition

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  • House Democrats Select Leaders - Rep. Darren Jackson from Wake County has been selected as the House minority leader. He replaces Rep. Larry Hall from Durham who had been the House Democratic leader since 2013. He decided not to seek another term. Rep. Jackson is an attorney and has served District 39 since January of 2009. He has been a major opponent of HB 2. The House Democratic Caucus also elected three whips: Rep. Bobbie Richardson from Franklin County, Rep. Garland Pierce from Scotland County, and Rep. Verla Insko from Orange County.
  • Webinar on What's Ahead in the New Year at the Federal Level -Congress is back and the new Trump administration starts on January 20. With this new beginning lie many challenges and opportunities. Repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will likely be one of the first items on the agenda which includes threats to senior programs like Medicaid home and community based services, health coverage for the pre-Medicare population aged 55-64, and threats to programs like fall prevention and chronic disease management. On January 18 from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m., the National Council on Aging (NCOA) Public Policy and Advocacy team will hold a webinar to share information about what lies ahead and how aging advocates can add their voice to the discussion.

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