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AARP Virginia state advocacy volunteers will be fighting for Virginians age 50+ at state budget hearings on January 3.

The volunteers will speak at regional public hearings of The House Appropriations and Senate Finance Committees of the Virginia General Assembly.  The committees are holding the hearings to solicit comments from the public on the Governor’s proposed 2018-2020 biennial state budget.

AARP volunteers will tell the legislators to fund programs important to Virginians, especially those in long-term care facilities, and those who need health care coverage.  Hearings are being held on Wednesday, January 3 in Loudoun County, Radford, Virginia Beach, and Richmond.

“Many long-term care residents are too medically or emotionally frail to speak up for themselves,” said AARP Virginia State Advocacy Director Barry Butler. “AARP Virginia believes the state Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program, which acts as the voice for these individuals to resolve care problems, should be adequately funded.”

The ratio is set by the General Assembly in the Code of Virginia to provide one ombudsman to every 2,000 long-term care beds. Current funding leaves the state short 35 ombudsmen.

“Individuals who are denied care often experience preventable complications and hospitalizations, costing countless dollars,” Butler said. “Early intervention by an ombudsman can save money and prevent harm.”

 

AARP Virginia, as a member of the Northern Virginia Aging Network and the Virginia Elder Rights Coalition, urges lawmakers to increase funding for the state Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program by $235,000 per year, or 10 percent of what is needed to fully fund the program.

 

AARP would like to hear from families who have been helped by the Ombudsman Program.  To share your story, visit the AARP Virginia website.

 

Volunteers also will urge lawmakers to take advantage of enhanced federal funding to provide Medicaid coverage for up to 300,000 additional individual.

 

“Without this expansion, a large segment of Virginia’s uninsured population does not qualify for Medicaid or federal subsidies to purchase health coverage through the insurance marketplace,” Butler said.

 

Butler said that AARP Virginia, as member of Healthcare for All Virginians – a coalition of over 100 organizations– urges lawmakers to “close the coverage gap.”

 

“Taking advantage of enhanced federal funding and closing the health insurance coverage gap is the right thing to do,” he said. “Thousands of low income adults need health coverage.”

 

Individuals who don’t have health care coverage are encouraged to contact AARP Virginia to share how the lack of insurance affects their life.

 

The budget hearings will be held at 10 a.m. January 3 in Loudoun County at the Northern Virginia Community College at Loudoun, Waddell Building and in Radford at Radford University, Kyle Hall.

At 12 p.m. (Noon) the same day, hearings will be held in Virginia Beach at Tidewater Community College, Virginia Beach Campus, Student Center and in Richmond at the Science Museum of Virginia, Dewey Gottwald Center.

Members of the public are encouraged to attend and participate in the hearings.  Those persons wishing to speak may register at each hearing site no earlier than one hour prior to the start of the hearing.  More information is available on the committee’s website.

Persons unable to attend may comment in writing to either:

Delegate S. Chris Jones
P.O. Box 406
General Assembly Building
Richmond, Virginia 23218

OR

Senator Thomas K. Norment, Jr.

Senator Emmett W. Hanger, Jr.

P.O. Box 39

General Assembly Building

Richmond, Virginia 23218

 

AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering Americans 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With nearly 38 million members and offices in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, AARP works to strengthen communities and advocate for what matters most to families with a focus on health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also works for individuals in the marketplace by sparking new solutions and allowing carefully chosen, high-quality products and services to carry the AARP name. As a trusted source for news and information, AARP produces the nation’s largest circulation publications, AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org or follow @AARP and @AARPadvocates on social media.

 

 

 

 

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