COLLOQUY

The Senior Alliance's Monthly Advocacy Update

April 21, 2022

Volume 3.4

Welcome to The Senior Alliance's advocacy newsletter, COLLOQUY!
This monthly e-mail is a look at issues, legislation and policies impacting aging.

Federal FY22 Spending Bill Signed

On March 15th, President Biden signed the FY 22 appropriations bill into law. The federal government had been operating under a series on Continuing Budget Resolutions since fiscal year 2022 began on October 1, 2021. Although the spending levels fell short compared to what was originally proposed for Older Americans Act Services there are some key budget items to note.


The budget includes $6 million increase for supportive services and senior centers. $15 million increase for home-delivered nutrition services. $5 million increase for the National Family Caregiver Support Program. $1 million increase for the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program. $1 million increase for the Medicare State Health Insurance Assistance Program.


The bill also includes extending flexibilities for Medicare coverage of telehealth and authorizing a new Federal Trade Commission office to monitor and prevent fraud targeting older adults.


The Senior Alliance thanks those members of Congress who advocated for increased funding to support older and disabled adults services and programs in the federal FY22 budget. We will continue to monitor the next federal budget process as the FY23 appropriations process will begin soon.

Governor Whitmer Signs $4.8 Billion Infrastructure Bill

At the end of March, Governor Whitmer signed the Building Michigan Together Plan, a $4.8 billion infrastructure bill.


The bill contains major investments into infrastructure, water quality, and housing. With about $380 million dedicated to roads and bridges and about $2 billion for clean water and water infrastructure. Another $250 million was dedicated to one of our 2022 Advocacy Platform planks - expanding broadband access around the state.

Build Back Better

Negotiations on the Build Back Better package proposed by President Biden stalled at the end of 2021. Many advocates are hoping these negotiations pick back up this month.


The version of the bill that passed in November of 2021 by the U.S. House included reduction of prescription drug costs, improved home care services, coverage for hearing aids, and new Older Americans Act investments.


Advocates for older adults are hopeful a renewed effort will continue to gain momentum as U.S. Senate negotiates over prescription drug costs and home care services opportunities aspects of the proposal .


The Senior Alliance will continue to monitor and advocate for the inclusion of expanded services and programs for older adults in the Build Back Better bill.

Prior Authorization Reform Signed by Governor Whitmer

On April 7th, Governor Whitmer signed Senate Bill 247 into law. This bill reforms the prior authorization process by reducing wait times and streamlining how physician offices and payers interact. The goal of this bill is to reduce paperwork and improve access to health care for patients.


The passage of SB 247 will reform the prior authorization process by requiring an insurer to make a standardized electronic prior authorization request transaction process, create more transparency, clinical validity, and fairness across all platforms and to all patients. This bill aims to protect patients from costly and potentially dangerous delays in access to health care.

Older Michigander's Day on May 11, 2022

Join the Area Agencies on Aging Association, The Senior Alliance, AAA's from around the state, and legislators in a week of advocacy on important issues that impact Michigan's older and disabled adults.


Senior Action Week will be held May 9-13, 2022 with a livestream event on Older Michigander's Day, May 11th at 11 a.m. broadcast from Lansing.


Each day of Senior Action Week features an issue focus:

Monday - Support and Strengthen the Direct Care Workforce

Tuesday - Rebalance Community-Based Long-Term Services and Supports

Wednesday - Expand Access to MI Choice

Thursday - Increase Access to Home and Community-Based Services

Friday - Bridge the Digital Divide for Older Adults

"Inside The Senior Alliance" Podcast

Our new podcast series, "Inside The Senior Alliance," provides to-the-point information about our programs and services. Just search for "The Senior Alliance" to find it on Spotify, Amazon, Apple, Stitcher, Google and other podcast platforms. Most episodes are less than 15 minutes long.


The first episode answers the question, "What is The Senior Alliance?" Other installments provide overviews of the MI Choice Waiver program, the Medicare Medicaid Assistance Program (MMAP), our Supports Coordination function, our Information & Assistance service, Housing Coordination, the Long Term Care Ombudsman, the Michigan Senior Advocates Council, our Advisory Council, the Meals-on-Wheels Program, Direct Care Workers, Advocacy Overview, State Representative Laurie Pohutsky, the Friendly Reassurance program, the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan, and the Alzheimer's Association of Michigan.


Click the button below to listen via our website.

Click Here for "Inside The Senior Alliance" Podcasts
Advocacy Questions: Please contact Emma Olson, Advocacy & Planning Specialist, with any advocacy or public policy questions via e-mail at eolson@thesenioralliance.org.
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The Senior Alliance, Area Agency on Aging 1C
5454 Venoy Road, Wayne, MI 48184
800-815-1112
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