The Senior Alliance's Monthly Advocacy Update
January 25, 2021
Volume 3.1
Welcome to The Senior Alliance's advocacy newsletter, COLLOQUY!
This monthly e-mail is a look at issues, legislation and policies impacting aging.
Senate Bill 213 Amends Facility Access for Long-Term Care Ombudsman
Michigan Senate Bill 213 was signed by Governor Whitmer at the end of December. This bill modifies the duties of a long-term care ombudsman during a declared emergency.

Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, there became an enhanced need to protect those in long-term care. With COVID-19 restrictions in place, many could not see their friends and family, in turn, they relied on an ombudsman to advocate for them their families. But certain restrictions blocked the long-term care ombudsman from seeing those in long-term care at all.

SB 213 amends the Older Michiganian Act to provide that certain visitation restrictions imposed on long-term care facilities do not apply to a representative of the long-term care ombudsman program. This bill also modifies the scope of access that must be provided to representatives of the program.

The Senior Alliance hopes that this bill will provide those in long-term care facilities with the support they need during a declared emergency and provide much needed access to those in these facilities to the ombudsman.
Final FY 2022 Federal Budget Talks Continue
The fiscal year 2022 federal budget is still not finalized and most programs continue to operate under a temporary funding measure, called a Continuing Resolution (CR). The current CR will expire on February 18th and it is unclear if appropriations leaders will have reached a final budget deal by then. The possibility of a full-year CR at FY 2021 funding levels is a real possibility. 

The Senior Alliances continues to advocate for Older Americans Act funding in the FY 22 funding bill. We encourage all of you to continue to do the same to ensure that older and disabled adults in our community can continue key programs.
State of Michigan to Begin Modernizing Websites
The State of Michigan will begin modernizing and updating their website for all state departments beginning January 14th. By the end of this month, 19 state agency websites will be launched as part of the new Michigan.gov portal and will continue to launch more through April 2022.

This update and use of the latest technology, comes with the push to prioritize ease of access to government services for all Michiganders and to bring Michigan's government into the 21st century at every level.

The Senior Alliance believes this modernization of the state's websites will improve user experience and ensure that all Michiganders can utilize the services all state departments offer.
Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) Launched by FCC

This program was created by Congress in the Infrastructure and Jobs Act as a replacement for the Emergency Broadband (EBB) program. This program provides a discount of $30 per month towards internet service for eligible households and other possible benefits. This investment into affordable broadband internet will help ensure that more households can afford internet for work, school, health care, etc.

The Senior Alliance supports policies that enable all Michigan residents to have access to affordable broadband internet. We hope that this new program will allow our residents access to critical online resources related to health care, social isolation, and other informational resources.

To find out more, to see who is eligible for the ACP, or to enroll, click here.
"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.

Our newest episode covers an advocacy overview with Emma Olson, Advocacy & Planning Specialist at The Senior Alliance.

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, and the Friendly Reassurance program.

Click the button below to listen via our website.
Advocacy Questions: Please contact Emma Olson, Advocacy & Planning Specialist, with any advocacy or public policy questions via e-mail at eolson@thesenioralliance.org.
Subscribe:
If you've received our monthly advocacy update, COLLOQUY, from a friend or colleague and would like to subscribe just click the button below or send an e-mail to: advocacy@thesenioralliance.org.
The Senior Alliance, Area Agency on Aging 1C
5454 Venoy Road, Wayne, MI 48184
800-815-1112