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'End the Wait, Fill the Plate' in Kentucky

It’s time to end the wait for thousands of Kentucky seniors and AARP is working across the state to mobilize grassroots support for increased funding in the Department for Aging and Independent Living (DAIL), preserve seniors’ access to courts and maintain land-line telephone services for rural Kentuckians.

Over the summer, AARP volunteers and staff have met with Area Agencies on Aging, grassroots activists and other civic groups to call on state lawmakers to increase state funding for services helping vulnerable seniors live independently. Tens of thousands of seniors remain on long waiting lists for services that could help them live independently and out of nursing homes.

Volunteers and staff have traveled the state reaching out to groups and lawmakers before the 2013 General Assembly to build support for three major goals:

  • Investing state dollars for in-home services
  • Protecting nursing home residents’ access to justice
  • Preserving land-line telephone services for Kentuckians, especially those over age 65

Other changes being sought in Frankfort could make it harder for nursing home residents to have their day in court and reduce many other consumers’ access to reliable land-line telephone service. Kentucky needs to end the wait for these seniors and protect all Kentuckians access to justice and reliable phone service when most needed.

AARP is fighting limits to medical liability awards requiring any nursing home case of abuse or neglect to first be reviewed a panel of appointed lawyers, doctors and other health care professionals. The proposed “Medical Review Panel” legislation is expected to be on the agenda again in 2013. If passed, the new panel would have had authority to determine if the evidence supports the conclusion that a long-term care facility acted or failed to act within the appropriate standards of care brought in a complaint. Additionally, the panel’s members would have been appointed from the nursing home industry and may have had conflicts of interest.

Rural telephone consumers’ basic land-line telephone services are expected to be at risk in 2013 if industry lobbyists succeed in pushing deregulation efforts. AARP opposes the deregulation effort because, if enacted, it could result in the loss of affordable basic phone service for Kentuckians living on low and fixed incomes. The deregulation bill would allow phone companies to raise rates for a vital service for which there is little competition while eliminating valuable consumer protections especially in rural counties.

These three key issues are expected to be up for debate when the state’s General Assembly convenes January 2013. AARP is building grassroots support for protecting consumers and building community services helping people live independently – in their own homes.

Grassroots citizen advocates are needed to help spread the word and take action in Frankfort. The time to end the wait and protect seniors is now before the start of the 2013 General Assembly. Join with AARP Kentucky and be a voice for change in Frankfort.

To get involved, send email to kyaarp@aarp.org and learn more about becoming a citizen advocate. Find more on the Kentucky General Assembly and contact your state representatives.

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