RD487 - Commonwealth Council on Aging 2022 Annual Report with 2023 Legislative Recommendations – September 28, 2022

Executive Summary:

Pursuant to § 51.5-127 of the Code of Virginia, the Commonwealth Council on Aging (“Council") is charged with promoting an efficient, coordinated approach by state government to meeting the needs of older Virginians.

There are approximately 1.9 million adults in Virginia who are over 60 years old. In service to the Commonwealth, the Council commends the Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services (DARS), the 25 local Area Agencies on Aging, and the array of public and private service providers, all of which provide crucial support to older Virginians and their caregivers. They help ensure that older adults are safe, healthy, and engaged with their family and friends and in their communities. Looking ahead, the Council welcomes the opportunity to work with Governor Youngkin, Secretary of Health and Human Resources John Littel, and the General Assembly in striving to make Virginia a great place to grow old.

The Council was pleased to celebrate its 2022 Best Practices Awards winners. The Best Practices Awards honor model aging programs that improve the lives of older Virginians and support caregivers. With support from DARS and the Virginia Association of Area Agencies on Aging (V4A), the Council hosted a webinar to acknowledge these ever vital programs on July 26, 2022.

The Council has prepared its 2023 legislative recommendations, which include:

• Expand the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program and Enhance the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program;

• Strengthen Staffing and Licensure Requirements for Virginia Nursing Homes;

• Increase the Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services Waiver Personal Maintenance Allowance;

• Enhance Assisted Living Facility Affordability through Measures such as Increasing the Auxiliary Grant Rate and Using Medicaid Funding;

• Increase Funding and Opportunities for Home Modifications to Age in Place;

• Mandate Sick Leave and a Living Wage for Direct Care Workers in Nursing Homes, Assisted Living Facilities, and Home and Community-Based Care;

• Enact Reforms in Virginia’s Guardianship and Conservatorship System;

• Transition Virginia from a Medicaid 209(b) State to Simplify SSI Medicaid Applications;

• Strengthen the Legal Standards for Court Review of Administrative Appeals of Agency Public Benefit Decisions; and

• Establish a Prescription Drug Affordability Review Board.

The Council is grateful for the opportunity to submit this report to you for your consideration. The Council looks forward to partnering with policymakers in advocating for older Virginians.


/s/ Beverley A. Soble, Chair