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AARP Kansas Legislative Priorities for 2011

The Kansas Legislature is back in session in Topeka and AARP Kansas is there too, providing information and testimony on various bills and resolutions of concern to older Kansans that will come before legislators in 2011.

This year, some of the issues that AARP Kansas will focus on in its advocacy on behalf of the 50+ population include long term care, home and community based services, nursing services, older workers and utilities.

Specifically, AARP, along with other partners, will ask legislators to consider increasing the number of nursing care hours that residents of Kansas nursing homes receive each day.

Two hours of care per resident each day (24 hour period) is the current standard for care required in Kansas. The Institute of Medicine recommendation is for 4.85 hours of nursing care for each resident every day as a minimum standard.

AARP Kansas believes that the recommended minimum standard should be met in order to better meet the care needs of the 18,000 older Kansans who reside in the state’s 320 nursing homes. Studies show that the more hours of care residents receive, the less they will be subject to illness, abuse, neglect and exploitation.

Another priority issue relates to the state’s 50+ workers. Many older workers continue to struggle with unemployment, underemployment and lack of training for available jobs. AARP Kansas proposes legislation that would place mentors at employment centers around the state to specifically focus on the needs of older workers and to help them find the information and resources they need to obtain jobs or reduce the barriers that might keep them from finding jobs.

AARP Kansas will also support proposed legislation to increase the scope of practice for the state’s Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRN’s). Current statutory and regulatory barriers prevent APRN’s from providing certain care and practicing to the full extent of their education and certification. AARP believes this increased scope of practice for APRN’s would especially benefit those Kansans who reside in rural areas of the state where there are fewer medical professionals available to provide care.

The issue of utility costs and energy conservation, especially for older Kansans living on fixed incomes, has long been a concern for AARP Kansas and will continue to be monitored. AARP Kansas will continue to work on behalf of all Kansans to ensure that the cost of utilities is not beyond their reach and doesn’t force them to choose between paying for food, rent or medical services.

If you would like more information on legislative issues that AARP is working on as the 2011 session progresses, be sure to check in regularly at the AARP Kansas state page. Also, if you are on Facebook, please go to “AARP Kansas” and catch up with us there. If you are interested in legislative issues and would like to become an advocacy volunteer for AARP Kansas, please let us know by calling 866-448-3619. We hope you can join us.