Aging policy update
By Nida Corry, PhD
Over recent months, the APA Public Interest Government Relations Office (PI-GRO) has joined national partners in advocating for the authorization and funding of essential programs and services for older Americans. Select highlights of APA advocacy activities in this arena are:
In support of integrated care and meeting the mental health needs of older adults, PI-GRO staff met with key congressional offices in the U.S. House and Senate offices to support the Positive Aging Act. This critical piece of legislation would significantly improve access to quality mental and behavioral health care for older adults by integrating mental health services in primary care and community settings where older adults reside and receive services. APA will continue to support the re-introduction and ultimate passage of this critical legislation in the 113th Congress.
APA submitted a letter (PDF, 47KB) to the U.S. Senate Committee on Health Education Labor & Pensions leadership in support of the Mental Health Awareness and Improvement Act (S.689) amendment to the Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act of 2013 (S. 649). The APA-supported amendment includes provisions focused on older adults and would support the dissemination of evidence-based mental health practices for the prevention and treatment of geriatric mental health disorders. Although S. 689 was passed by the Senate in a 95-2 vote, the foundational bill that it would amend was not passed by the Senate. APA and partners will continue to support enactment of the Mental Health Awareness and Improvement Act and the inclusion of key provisions related to the mental health needs of older adults.
Given the need for accessible respite care to support the diverse and growing population of family caregivers, APA joined a coalition of national organizations in submitting a letter (PDF, 283KB) to lead congressional appropriators urging them to fund critical family caregiving and respite care programs in fiscal year 2014.
Additional advocacy updates related to older adults and mental health issues may be found on the APA PI GRO website.