Archive September 2022

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FALL-ing Into Old Habits: Congress Set to Pass Short-Term Funding!

Old habits die hard, even among legislators with fiscal deadlines they are supposed to meet. Luckily, Congress appears set to avert its self-imposed crisis and will likely deliver a continuing resolution (CR) to the President in the waning hours of the 2022 fiscal year—aka tonight! 
This short-term funding solution will continue to fund the government at FY 2022 funding levels through December 16, 2022, giving Congress more time to resolve a final FY 2023 spending bill after the November elections.
While the CR generally freezes spending to current levels, there are some exceptions: The bill provides an additional $1 billion for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program to assist families with the costs of heating and cooling, and to mitigate the effects of rising energy costs and extreme weather.
But we can’t share the good without the bad, so let’s take a moment to reflect on the expected negotiations following what is sure to be a tense and unpredictable midterm election—one that will directly impact the positions each party takes to finalize these spending bills.
The bipartisan, bicameral negotiations following elections are far more likely to reflect the Senate FY 2023 spending bill—and likely be even more modest in order to secure the needed Republican support for passage. As a reminder, the President’s budget, along with the House Appropriations Committee’s bill, best resemble USAging’s longtime advocacy requests. As expected, the Senate bill was less generous but still reflected an increase over FY 2022 levels for ACL.
Because the Democratic-led House and Senate bills reflect the starting point of negotiations and won’t survive the next stage intact, it is essential for USAging and aging advocates to continue to push for the highest levels of FY 2023 funding possible. It is equally important to secure FY 2023 funding and advocate against a CR extension, or worse, a year-long CR which would handicap OAA programs by relying on the disappointingly insufficient funding levels of FY 2022, especially as most states begin to deplete their infusion of COVID-19 relief funding.
Over the next few months, advocates can continue to call on their elected officials to remind them of the critical importance of AAA programs and services, the mounting community needs—and personal stories, all of which will encourage  legislators to support highest level funding possible for FY 2023. Continue to check USAging’s Appropriations Campaign page for resources that will help you connect with your elected officials today and stay tuned for the remainder of this unpredictable midterm election year! 

What's New from the Housing and Services Resource Center

The recording and materials from the Ending Homelessness: Developing Partnerships Between HUD Continuums of Care (CoCs) and Disability, Aging and Health Services Providers webinar are now available. Hosted by the USAging-administered Housing and Services Resource Center (HSRC), this training orients viewers to CoC structures and cross-sector partnerships that address the needs of people experiencing homelessness. 
USAging member Bay Aging presented on some of the partnerships highlighted in the recently published case study: Bay Aging Partnerships Bring Help and Hope to People Experiencing Homelessness.
Interested in learning about other cross-sector partnerships to advance housing stability? Learn more with these 2022 HSRC webinar recordings:

New Report and Resources to Support Your Workforce Challenges

Caregiver Needed: How the Nation’s Workforce Shortages Make It Harder to Age Well at Home, a new report from USAging, reveals that many AAAs and direct care providers across the country are facing workforce shortages that are threatening their ability to provide home and community-based services to older adults who depend on them.
The report, based on a survey of AAAs, revealed that 41 percent of AAA survey respondents have staff vacancies ranging from five to 15 percent and one-third of AAA respondents reported that they had lost at least half of their volunteer workforce since 2019.  
As a result of direct care workforce shortages: 
  • 99 percent of responding AAAs reported that older adults in their service areas are experiencing increased social isolation and loneliness  
  • 94 percent of AAAs reported that older adults were not receiving services as often as they were needed and  
  • 92 percent reported that some older adults were not able to receive one or more of the services they need at all 
Share the report and press release with your provider partners, board, stakeholders and elected officials to demonstrate that these issues are widespread and require coordinated action. 
Additional Resources to Support Your Work 
PowerPoint Slides: Add selected slides into your own presentations or reports to support your advocacy work. 
Impact of Workforce Shortages on AAAs and Older Adults: Results from a USAging Poll: Watch the recording of our September 8 webinar for a brief overview of key findings and summary of current national policy opportunities. 
Stopgap Measures to Address Workforce Challenges: Join us on October 4 at 3:00 pm ET to hear from a panel of AAA leaders who will discuss innovative strategies they are using to address direct care worker shortages during this webinar. Register now!
Coming in November: Plan to join us for a webinar, Strategies to Improve Employee Engagement and Retention at AAAs. Stay tuned for more details! 

Get Ready for Grandparents Day!

Grandparents Day is just a few days away and will take place this Sunday, September 11! This annual event hosted by Generations United, one of USAging’s partners, encourages people of all ages to #DoSomethingGrand by engaging with another generation.? USAging is proud to be a partner on this important day. 
To help encourage participation in Grandparents Day, Generations United has created a toolkit that AAAs and other organizations can use to participate in Grandparents Day. You can also develop your own ideas—be creative with innovative ways to show appreciation for grandparents and older adults in your community. Need help spreading the word? Check out the social media toolkit from Generations United and use it to promote Grandparents Day in your community. Be sure to tag Generations United and USAging in your posts and use the hashtag #DoSomethingGrand.
Looking for more resources to use throughout the year? Here are a few ideas offered through USAging and our programs.

September in Washington: What to Know

Election season is ramping up and there is very little time left for legislating in this Congress. With the fiscal year drawing to a close, House and Senate negotiations on FY 2023 appropriations remain at a standstill as Congress waits to see what midterm elections will mean for the future control of Congress. While we can’t read the tea leaves for election outcomes, we do expect Congress to pass a continuing resolution (CR) before October 1.
By passing a CR to avoid a government shutdown and pushing off the start of difficult bipartisan negotiations on FY 2023 spending levels, Congress is buying itself more time—and additional knowledge of the political landscape for the 118th Congress that waiting until after the election will bring. We expect the CR will run through mid-December and is likely to freeze spending for all aging programs at FY 2022 levels. 
The Biden Administration is also seeking to add funding for Ukraine, disaster-relief for the Kentucky floods and the Mississippi water crisis, and additional COVID-19 funding to the CR. Republicans have indicated they will not support adding additional COVID-19 funding but remain open to the other added funding measures.
USAging thanks you for your advocacy throughout the year, but clearly our work is not done. We must continue to advocate for the investment we know is sorely needed. The robust increases reflected in the President’s budget and the Democratic House bill (and to a lesser extent the Democratic Senate bill) remain a proposed starting point for future negotiations with Republicans and, as in FY 2022, these numbers will likely come down in order to secure overall Republican support for the final bill.
We need you to continue to communicate the importance of these programs and services, particularly with Republican lawmakers, to ensure that they understand the size and scope of aging services that are needed to help enable older adults to age with dignity in their homes and communities. Please continue to check USAging’s Appropriations Campaign page to help you connect with your elected officials on this and other critical issues.

For more information about these and other federal aging policy issues, please contact USAging's policy team: Amy Gotwals and Monica Billger at, 202.872.0888.

USAging Submits Comments to CMS on Medicare Advantage

Earlier this week, USAging submitted comments in response to CMS’s Request for Information (RFI) on aspects of the Medicare Advantage program. With the ever-expanding role of AAAs and the Aging Network in care delivery and health outcomes, we submitted comments focused on our network’s role in the provision of social care services through MA and SSBCI in particular. 

USAging’s response to the RFI included the following recommendations: 
  • Promoting, strengthening and funding AAAs and community-based care experts when adapting the health care system to support the social determinants of health. Specifically, CMS should invest in the Aging Network’s ability to make even greater contributions to SDOH-informed health care in MA. Additionally, informing CMS to keep the limitations of technology deployed to support health care referrals to social care in mind.
  • Leveraging MA supplemental benefits through contract partnerships with AAAs to encourage wider development of Special Supplemental Benefits for the Chronically Ill (SSBCI). AAAs are experts at forming and sustaining networks—they already lead local networks of providers­ as part of their congressional designation as AAAs—and these networks are an effective way to meet the MA plans’ service needs with one contract. Our comments highlight how the overall growth in AAA and health care contracting is critical to the ultimate success of SDOH-addressing services in MA.
  • Improving MA plans’ ability to offer nutrition-focused supplemental benefits and urging CMS to encourage MA plans to expand their contracting with aging and disability CBOs to provide evidence-based health and wellness programs. We would like to see CMS extend (and compensate) opportunities for health prevention (e.g., physical activity) and chronic-disease self-management outside the clinical environment through proven programs that enable independence, self-sufficiency and successfully address disease prevention/management.
Read our comments



USAging Fact: Learn about your peers’ work—and how it can fit into your agency’s goals! The AIA Awards recognizes successful and innovative programs that USAging members have developed to serve older adults. Get inspiration from our 2022 winners!