Legislature(2011 - 2012)CAPITOL 106
03/10/2011 03:00 PM HEALTH & SOCIAL SERVICES
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HCR 3-SENIOR CITIZEN PROTECTIONS 3:16:11 PM CHAIR KELLER announced that the next order of business would be HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 3, Relating to promoting the safety and protection of older Alaskans. 3:16:56 PM REPRESENTATIVE CATHY MUNOZ, Alaska State Legislature, explained that HCR 3 raised awareness to the problem of elder abuse. She emphasized that elder abuse was on the rise both in Alaska and nationally. She declared that Department of Health and Social Services reported a 169 percent increase in the reports of harm over the last four years, and the office of the Long Term Care Ombudsman had seen a corresponding increase of 200 percent over the past three years. She listed the most common allegations to include self-neglect, abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation. 3:18:22 PM CHAIR KELLER asked if Representative Munoz would accept a conceptual amendment. 3:18:59 PM REPRESENTATIVE MILLER asked for a definition of elders. 3:19:16 PM REPRESENTATIVE MUNOZ, in response, stated that it was 60 years of age and older. 3:19:35 PM DENISE DANIELLO, Executive Director, Alaska Commission on Aging, Division of Senior and Disabilities Services, Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS), clarified that the target age was 60 years of age and older, as that co-ordinated with the eligible ages for response by the office of the Long Term Care Ombudsman. She pointed out that this was also the age to receive services funded by the Older Americans Act. She noted that proposed HCR 3 supported a public awareness campaign about elder abuse and its prevalence, and called for greater coordination among the agencies serving elders. 3:21:01 PM REPRESENTATIVE MILLER asked for a definition of abuse. 3:21:22 PM MS. DANIELLO replied that there were many types of abuse, which included: physical, sexual, and emotional abuse, abandonment, withdrawal of support, neglect for the basics of care, financial exploitation, and self neglect. 3:24:40 PM MARIE DARLIN, Coordinator, AARP Capital City Task Force, stated that AARP supported HCR 3. She offered her belief that proposed HCR 3 would better focus public awareness on the problems. She directed attention to the AARP policies for education, awareness, and enforcement and suggested that the committee review these for guidance. 3:27:52 PM DIANA WEBER, Ombudsman, Long Term Care Ombudsman, Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority, Department of Revenue, expressed support for proposed HCR 3 as it would raise the profile of elder maltreatment with the public. She emphasized that it communicated the priority for this to all the state agencies. 3:29:18 PM CHAIR KELLER closed public testimony. 3:29:37 PM REPRESENTATIVE MILLETT declared that it was devastating to hear about elder abuse. 3:30:31 PM REPRESENTATIVE HERRON, directing attention to page 2, lines 14 and 18, regarding the percentage of reports filed, asked if the State of Alaska was still responding with appropriate levels of intervention. CHAIR KELLER re-opened public testimony. 3:31:31 PM MS. DANIELLO suggested the question be directed to the Long Term Care Ombudsman office. 3:31:51 PM MS. WEBER reported that a response, especially for imminent harm issues, was within one working day. She asserted that the bigger concern was for the lack of available time to continue the individual support for each senior. 3:32:58 PM CHAIR KELLER closed public testimony. CHAIR KELLER moved to adopt Amendment 1, which read [original punctuation provided]: Page 2, Line 23: insert "families and" before the word communities" Page 2, Line 28: Insert new (2) "Recognizes that family and community can provide the essential source of security and well being for vulnerable older Alaskans." (re-number following paragraphs) Page 3, Line 4: insert new paragraph (n) to read: "supports efforts by HSS to enable independent living and supporting family services to enable independent living." (ties with the first whereas) REPRESENTATIVE MILLETT objected for discussion. CHAIR KELLER read proposed Amendment 1 and expressed his willingness for any wordsmithing. 3:34:41 PM REPRESENTATIVE MILLETT removed her objection. There being no objection, Amendment 1 was adopted. 3:34:57 PM REPRESENTATIVE DICK moved to report HCR 3, as amended, out of committee with individual recommendations and the accompanying fiscal notes. There being no objection, CSHCR 3(HSS) was reported from the House Health and Social Services Standing Committee.