December 16, 2014
Consumer Voice asked individuals in our network to reach out to their members of Congress in support of elder justice funding as well as H.R. 83, the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015. This omnibus spending bill continues funding for the federal government through Fiscal Year 2015. While there are some controversial provisions in the bill, we urged individuals to support it for its benefits to long-term care consumers, as it includes funding for an Elder Justice Initiative as well as increased funding for state survey and certification activities. We extend our gratitude to those that were able to call their members last week in support of the bill and are pleased to report that the bill has passed in both the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate. It has now been signed into law by President Obama.
This fiscal spending bill appropriates $4 million for an Elder Justice Initiative that would help fund the creation of an Adult Protective Services (APS) National Data System, the development of APS program standards, and the support of evidence-based research regardingelder abuse. This work will assist in strengthening adult protective services nationwide. As many may know, the Elder Justice Initiative is part of the Elder Justice Act that was signed into law in 2010 but has never been funded. Obtaining $4 million for these critical elder justiceactivities is a critical step in helping to secure additional funding in the future. Consumer Voice has been advocating for funding for this initiative since its inclusion in the President's budget request earlier this year, and we thank individuals in our network that took the time to right to their members of Congress in support of this request. Your advocacy helped lead to the inclusion of this funding in the final Fiscal Year 2015 budget.
In addition, the final bill increases funding for state survey and certification activities at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) by roughly $22 million, which includes oversight and inspection of nursing homes. Currently, state survey activities are woefully underfunded and have not been granted additional funding by Congress for a number of years. This additional funding is greatly needed in order to better protect nursing home residents.
Consumer Voice commends Congress for the inclusion of vital funding to aid long-term care consumers in its final budget for Fiscal Year 2015 and will continue to advocate for increased funding for programs benefiting long-term care consumers in the years to come. We also thank our network for your continued support of these critical issues!