Green helps identify, prioritize top aging issues for seniors

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Jonathon Green of Albert Lea as among the delegates from across the country attending the 11th annual meeting of the National Silver-Haired Congress in Alexandria, Va., Feb. 7-12. Green is a senator in the congress and is the city representative from Minnesota.

The major emphasis of the meeting was to identify and prioritize the top five issues confronting America&8217;s older citizens; the original number of resolutions that had been submitted at this meeting was 66. After debate and review in the resolution process, the following five resolutions will be presented to the United States Congress and the president as grassroots input for legislation and/or policy action by members and delegates of the NSHC.

1. National criminal background checks of direct access employees

Email newsletter signup

2. Mandatory geriatric education for medical students in tax-supported medical schools

3. Increasing home and community-based services (This third priority is to develop a fiscal year 2009 budget that will fully fund the Older Americans Act, Title II.)

4. Passage of elder justice legislation

5. Silver alert notification network for missing elderly citizens

The No. 1 issue is to create a national background check and registry of all employees of health care facilities, including home health agencies and residential care facilities.

Green assisted in the distribution of the secret ballots, collecting the ballots and the final tabulation. He was asked to chair the election committee for this general session meeting of the NSHC. The delegates elected the following officers for 2008 – 2010:

chairman of the board, first vice chairman, second vice chairman, secretary, treasurer, senate president, senate president pro tem, house speaker, house speaker pro tem and four at-large board members.

Wally Daeley, chairman of the board of directors, announced he had sent the board&8217;s proclamation, which Green had given input to, concerning the inclusion of some 20 million Social Security recipients in the economic stimulus package to Sen. Max Baucus, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.

John Wren, deputy assistant secretary for aging of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, addressed the delegates at dinner on Saturday. He stressed that the United States does not have a long-term care system but rather a variety of programs. He suggested that organizations like the NSHC could help provide a grassroots reform movement of America&8217;s long-term care system. Wren indicated that, for the first time, the Older Americans Act requires one-stop shopping entry points to access senior services. It must be available for all levels of the economic ladder. Title II of the Act will be vulnerable due to lack of funding.

At Saturday morning&8217;s breakfast meeting, Jacquelyn McClelland, professor at North Carolina State University, presented a program titled &8220;Awareness and Education of Osteoporosis.&8221;

Another presentation indicated that choice is important in health care and that health care as a system is broken and needs to be fixed.

At the Monday evening dinner, the Patient Safety and Abuse Prevention Act of 2007 and Elder Justice Act provided the specifics for the presentations of Anne Montgomery, senior policy advisor to Senate Special Committee on Aging and Ashley Ridlon, legislative assistant to U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.). Delegates were invited to contact their elected representatives in support of the bills. Green served on the health care committee of this general session of the NSHC.

Green was also approved for life membership in the National Council of Silver Haired Legislators, the legislative eye, ear and voice of older citizens on behalf of all Americans. He will be attending a mid-year meeting in Kansas City, Mo., in August.