The Final Word from Olympia?
As this newsletter goes to print, we're still waiting for the final word from Olympia. There's no budget, and state-funded programs are threatened with shutdown. The long-promised transportation package is still undefined. It looks like the Medicaid case management program will receive an overdue rate increase, though it's far short of the amount needed to provide truly person-centered and responsive services.
Thank you to Governor Jay Inslee and members of the Washington State Legislature. The final 2015–2017 state budget adopted June 29, 2015 includes an increase of $10 million statewide for the case management program. This represents about a nine percent increase in the case management rate. For more information on this funding, visit http://goo.gl/QRpCbK.
These are dire times. As tempting as it is to "take the summer off," we must continue to contact our state legislators about the needs of vulnerable adults in our communities. We must keep the pressure on.
Learn more about advocacy efforts:
- Local—The ADS Advisory Council continues to study issues of concern to older residents of Seattle-King County. Visit our Advocacy webpage to learn more.
- State—The Washington Association of Area Agencies on Aging's state priorities are posted at www.agingwashington.org/legislative-advocacy/state-issues.
- National—The National Association of Area Agencies on Aging provides thorough coverage of federal issues. Learn more at www.n4a.org/advocacy.
State and congressional seats are not up for election this year—in Seattle and other jurisdictions in King County, local government positions are on the ballot. To learn who and what you'll find on your August 4, 2015 primary election ballot, click here.
Traditionally, Aging Network programs and services have been supported by federal and state funds, but it's important to remember that local governments are responsible for public health and safety. If a candidate comes to your door or you have the opportunity to attend a candidates forum, ask how they will support elders and adults with disabilities in your community.
We choose our representatives in government to do just that. Let's be sure our voices are heard.
Contributor Ava Frisinger chairs the Seattle-King County Advisory Council on Aging & Disability Services, which publishes AgeWise King County. Ava welcomes input from readers via e-mail (email@example.com) as well as applicants for open positions on the council, when they occur. For more information, visit www.agingkingcounty.org/advisory-council.
Photo credit: "Washington State Capitol," by Jim Bowen via Flickr Creative Commons.
Debunking the Myths of Mental Illness
Join us on Friday, July 10, 2015 (11:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m.), to hear George Dicks, Certified Geriatric Mental Health Specialist and Lead Mental Health Practitioner at Harborview Mental Health and Addiction Services, discuss types and causes of mental illness, tips for handling difficult behaviors, and how to care for older adults with behavioral and addiction issues. Click on the flyer for more information.