Legislature(2015 - 2016)CAPITOL 106

01/28/2016 03:00 PM House HEALTH & SOCIAL SERVICES

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            HB 226-EXTEND ALASKA COMMISSION ON AGING                                                                        
3:06:32 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEATON announced that the  first order of business would be                                                               
HOUSE BILL  NO. 226,  "An Act extending  the termination  date of                                                               
the Alaska  Commission on Aging;  and providing for  an effective                                                               
3:06:49 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE MIKE  HAWKER, Alaska State  Legislature, explained                                                               
that  HB  226  would  extend   the  sunset  date  of  the  Alaska                                                               
Commission on Aging.  He  pointed out that these board extensions                                                               
were an administerial job of  the Alaska State Legislature, as it                                                               
offered an opportunity  to review and examine  the performance of                                                               
the board in  accordance with the statutes  which authorized them                                                               
and its  relevance and importance  to the  state.  The  review of                                                               
the boards and commissions is  performed by the state auditor and                                                               
the   state   audit   group,  which   produce   an   audit   with                                                               
recommendations.   Upon completion of  its recent  sunset review,                                                               
April 10, 2015,  the state auditors recommended  extension of the                                                               
Alaska  Commission on  Aging for  eight years,  through June  30,                                                               
2024, as also  requested in proposed HB 226.   He stated that the                                                               
Alaska  Commission  on  Aging  was  a  bit  different  than  most                                                               
commissions,  as  it  was  necessitated   by  the  federal  Older                                                               
Americans Act  (OAA).  He  explained that to receive  the federal                                                               
funding of  $11 million  to various programs  for the  benefit of                                                               
seniors,  there must  be a  council  in the  state, comprised  of                                                               
older individuals who  are eligible to participate  in OAA funded                                                               
programs.   He  further  defined  that this  entity  must be  the                                                               
"state agency regarding aging issues  and make recommendations to                                                               
our  state agency  that handles  these programs,"  which was  the                                                               
Department of Health  and Social Services in Alaska.   He pointed                                                               
out that  the Commission  on Aging developed  the state  plan for                                                               
senior  services.   He declared  that this  board "actually  does                                                               
something," that  it had  an important  mission and  it developed                                                               
policy.   He  pointed out  that the  Commission was  necessary in                                                               
order  to  continue to  qualify  for  federal funding  to  senior                                                               
programs.  He reported that  auditors had noticed two issues that                                                               
the commission  needed to  rectify:   better advance  noticing of                                                               
meetings, of which  the commission had agreed and  taken steps to                                                               
rectify; and  to better  monitor the  legislative watch  list, as                                                               
there were  bills listed  that were not  relevant.   He suggested                                                               
that  the commission  served an  important purpose,  and that  it                                                               
leveraged a  relatively small amount  of state money to  bring in                                                               
more than $11 million to support programs for senior Alaskans.                                                                  
3:14:00 PM                                                                                                                    
DENISE DANIELLO, Executive Director,  Alaska Commission on Aging,                                                               
Division  of  Senior  and Disabilities  Services,  Department  of                                                               
Health and Social Services (DHSS),  stated that she supported the                                                               
legislative  audit  to  extend   the  termination  date  for  the                                                               
Commission on  Aging.  She offered  a brief overview of  the work                                                               
by  the  commission  and  its  role in  state  government.    She                                                               
explained  that  the  mission  was "to  ensure  the  dignity  and                                                               
independence of  all older  Alaskans and to  assist them  to lead                                                               
useful   and  meaningful   lives   through  planning,   advocacy,                                                               
education, and inter agency cooperation."   She declared that the                                                               
State of Alaska  was unique, in comparison with  other states, as                                                               
it  constituted  a  single  planning and  service  area  for  its                                                               
provision  of services  for seniors;  whereas,  other states  had                                                               
numerous  area  agencies  to administer  funding,  programs,  and                                                               
services for  seniors.  In  Alaska, the Department of  Health and                                                               
Social  Services was  the sole  state  agency on  aging, and  the                                                               
responsibilities  were carried  out  jointly by  the Division  of                                                               
Senior   and  Disabilities   Services,  which   administered  the                                                               
majority of  federal and state  funding for senior  programs, and                                                               
the Alaska  Commission on Aging,  which developed the  state plan                                                               
for  senior   services  and  provided  advocacy,   outreach,  and                                                               
education,  as specified  under  the OAA.    She reiterated  that                                                               
Alaska  received about  $11 million  of federal  funding annually                                                               
for senior programs  and services.  She noted that  this was also                                                               
extended  to   Alaska  Native   Tribal  providers,   through  the                                                               
Department of Labor  & Workforce Development.   She reported that                                                               
the  commission  had been  formed  in  1981, and  was  originally                                                               
called  the Older  Alaskans  Commission.   She  relayed that  the                                                               
commitment  was   to  ensure  that   seniors  gained   access  to                                                               
appropriate and  quality services,  and to maintain  their health                                                               
and independence to allow them  to remain in their own community,                                                               
living independently, for  as long as possible.   She stated that                                                               
this  work  was now  more  important  than  ever, as  the  senior                                                               
population  continued  to  grow,  from its  current  estimate  of                                                               
120,444 Alaskans  over 60 years of  age, at a 4.2  percent annual                                                               
increase.   She  shared that  this  comprised 16  percent of  the                                                               
state population, and was the  fastest growing age demographic in                                                               
Alaska.   She added  that for the  sixth consecutive  year Alaska                                                               
was  the state  with the  fastest growing  senior population  per                                                               
3:19:18 PM                                                                                                                    
MS.  DANIELLO  shared  that  the   commission  was  charged  with                                                               
formulating  a  four year  comprehensive  Alaska  state plan  for                                                               
senior  services for  approval by  the Department  of Health  and                                                               
Social Services in  order to satisfy the  federal requirement for                                                               
all states  to have a  state plan when receiving  funding through                                                               
the OAA.   She relayed that, since FY08,  the commission, working                                                               
collaboratively  with  many  agencies  as well  as  seniors,  had                                                               
developed three  state plans  for senior  services.   The current                                                               
state plan  for FY16 - FY19  included 6 goals, with  28 strategic                                                               
objectives, and  48 performance  measures, as  well as  a formula                                                               
that directed the  distribution of federal and  state funding for                                                               
senior programs  and services:  the  nutrition and transportation                                                               
support  services  program,  and  the  senior  in  home  services                                                               
program.   She  reported that  the commission  also provided  the                                                               
senior  snapshot published  in  the annual  report,  which is  an                                                               
annual  statistical  analysis  of  senior  demographics,  use  of                                                               
programs  and  services, and  reports  on  indicators related  to                                                               
senior  health,  senior  safety,  senior  housing,  and  economic                                                               
security.  The commission also  provided annual budget and policy                                                               
recommendations  to  the  Alaska Mental  Health  Trust  Authority                                                               
concerning the  needs of older  Alaskans living  with Alzheimer's                                                               
and related dementia.   She offered a  conservative estimate that                                                               
there  were   6,600  Alaskans  aged   65  years  or   older  with                                                               
Alzheimer's,  which  did  not  include  early  onset  or  related                                                               
dementias.    She  pointed  out   that  the  commission  provided                                                               
information quarterly to the  Trust and collaboratively published                                                               
Alaska's  roadmap to  address Alzheimer's  and related  dementia,                                                               
which  was the  first state  plan to  address the  challenges and                                                               
complexity  of issues  for these  diseases.   She noted  that the                                                               
commission  also made  recommendations  to the  governor and  the                                                               
legislature  with   respect  to  legislation,   regulations,  and                                                               
appropriations  for  programs  and services  that  benefit  older                                                               
Alaskans,  including  the  Medicaid  adult  dental  program,  the                                                               
Alaska senior  benefits program,  and the statewide  alert system                                                               
for vulnerable  adults, the silver  alert.  She pointed  out that                                                               
the  commission  actively  encouraged  public  participation  for                                                               
policy   and  budget   recommendations,  and   conducted  regular                                                               
community    forums   and    bi-weekly   statewide    legislative                                                               
teleconferences  for   discussion  on  legislation   relevant  to                                                               
3:24:32 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. DANIELLO reported  that, in recent years,  the commission had                                                               
made  efforts  to  recognize  the   many  issues  facing  Alaskan                                                               
seniors,  by  coordinating  the power  of  aging  symposium,  and                                                               
encouraging  seniors to  participate  in civic  engagement.   She                                                               
relayed that the commission had  collaborated in the coordination                                                               
of  the senior  housing summit,  and the  senior fall  prevention                                                               
coalition, as falls were the  number one cause of hospitalization                                                               
and  death for  seniors aged  75 and  older.   She mentioned  the                                                               
Healthy Body,  Healthy Brain campaign, which  raised awareness of                                                               
risk factors  and protective factors promoting  cognitive health.                                                               
The  commission had  called attention  to the  fact that  seniors                                                               
were a $3  billion industry in Alaska, which did  not include the                                                               
countless hours of volunteer and  care giving work.  She declared                                                               
that seniors appreciated the programs  and services to strengthen                                                               
their  health   and  ability  to  live   independently  in  their                                                               
communities.   She referenced the audit  findings, which required                                                               
public  online   postings  for  all  the   commission  board  and                                                               
committee  meetings,  as  well  as review  and  approval  of  the                                                               
legislative  watch list  by  the commission  chair  prior to  its                                                               
distribution.  She expressed the  commission's approval for these                                                               
findings,  noting  the  updated   policies  and  procedures,  and                                                               
reported  that  the new  practices  had  been implemented.    She                                                               
declared support for HB 226.                                                                                                    
3:27:03 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  TARR asked  how  the issue  for  the shortage  of                                                               
affordable housing was being addressed outside urban areas.                                                                     
MS. DANIELLO replied that the  commission had participated in the                                                               
governor's  housing  summit  in  January,  which  included  eight                                                               
breakout  sessions,  one  of  which  was  a  session  for  senior                                                               
housing.   During this session,  a problem statement  was defined                                                               
which  declared  that  Alaska   had  a  shortage  of  accessible,                                                               
affordable housing  for people  to age  in place,  and a  list of                                                               
recommendations  was provided.    These recommendations  included                                                               
the implementation  of strategies  identified in the  Alaska road                                                               
map for addressing  Alzheimer's disease.  She  expressed a desire                                                               
to read  the report from this  housing summit, and "a  large need                                                               
to  continue this  conversation with  these recommendations  from                                                               
the senior housing  breakout session to provide  the platform for                                                               
continuing that discussion and further  work."  She expressed her                                                               
desire to  create a partnership  with the Alaska  Housing Finance                                                               
Corporation  and  the  Alaska   Mental  Health  Trust  Authority.                                                               
Referencing housing outside  urban areas, she opined  that it was                                                               
important to identify  ways to improve accessibility  in the home                                                               
so that people would not have to leave their homes.                                                                             
3:30:30 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE TARR  asked whether  the four full  time employees                                                               
listed on the fiscal  note were enough to do the  job.  She asked                                                               
if the current travel freeze would impact the commission.                                                                       
MS.  DANIELLO, in  response to  Representative Tarr,  stated that                                                               
the  commission budget  had  been reduced  by  $3000, mainly  for                                                               
travel, so the  commission will be having more  meetings by audio                                                               
and video  conference.  She  relayed that, as the  commission was                                                               
required by statute  to have four board meetings  each year, they                                                               
would try to limit this to one face to face meeting.                                                                            
3:32:00 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE TARR  asked if this  would compromise the  work of                                                               
the commission.                                                                                                                 
MS.  DANIELLO  expressed her  agreement  that  this was  a  valid                                                               
concern,  sharing  that  an  on-site  rural  outreach  commission                                                               
meeting was invaluable, but expensive.                                                                                          
3:34:08 PM                                                                                                                    
KRISTIN  CURTIS,  Legislative  Auditor, Division  of  Legislative                                                               
Audit, Alaska  State Legislature, reported that  the division had                                                               
conducted a sunset review and  the main points had been presented                                                               
by Representative Hawker.  She  stated that she was available for                                                               
3:35:08 PM                                                                                                                    
MARIE  DARLIN,   Coordinator,  AARP  Capital  City   Task  Force,                                                               
Commission on Aging, referenced her  earlier letter of support to                                                               
HB 226 from AARP to  the committee [Included in members' packet].                                                               
She pointed out that over the  years AARP had worked closely with                                                               
the  commission on  many different  projects, as  the two  groups                                                               
were faced  with many of  the same issues.   She stated  that the                                                               
two  groups   had  a  very   good  working  relationship.     She                                                               
acknowledged that  the commission had successfully  addressed the                                                               
issues  on the  audit, and  had  been updated  on senior  housing                                                               
issues and the restructuring of  fund distribution through Alaska                                                               
Housing Finance Corporation.                                                                                                    
3:38:46 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  TARR   asked  if  AARP  and   other  groups  were                                                               
coordinating to consider the net  impact on seniors if there were                                                               
changes, and whether the commission be involved.                                                                                
MS. DARLIN  replied that this  was already  happening, especially                                                               
for the concerns and impacts in the outlying areas.                                                                             
3:41:25 PM                                                                                                                    
CHARLES MCKEE read from a  letter he wrote to U.S. Representative                                                               
Paul Ryan regarding the welfare of senior citizens.                                                                             
CHAIR SEATON asked that Mr.  McKee focus his comments directly on                                                               
proposed HB 226 and the Alaska Commission on Aging.                                                                             
3:45:07 PM                                                                                                                    
MARY SHIELDS, Chair, Alaska Commission  on Aging, stated that the                                                               
senior population was the fastest  growing demographic in Alaska,                                                               
while  contributing  about  $3  billion  annually  to  the  state                                                               
economy.  She  relayed that the commission members  were the eyes                                                               
and  ears for  the senior  community, especially  for the  older,                                                               
vulnerable Alaskans.  The commission  brought these messages back                                                               
to the policy makers, noting that  a lot of information came from                                                               
the  rural  outreach   meetings.    She  pointed   out  that  the                                                               
commission  also  contacted the  state  ombudsman  to ensure  any                                                               
wrongdoings  directed at  seniors were  properly addressed.   She                                                               
lauded  the  central  positioning  of  the  commission,  and  she                                                               
declared support for HB 226.                                                                                                    
3:48:09 PM                                                                                                                    
GORDON GLASER,  Alaska Commission  on Aging,  shared that  he was                                                               
also on the board of the  Anchorage Senior Activities Center.  He                                                               
relayed that  the commission  looked at broad  policy as  well as                                                               
individual  cases, as  their mission  was to  determine what  was                                                               
going   on  and   what  needed   to  be   changed,  then   making                                                               
recommendations to  the legislature, the state  agencies, and the                                                               
governor.   He stated support  of HB  226, adding that  the aging                                                               
population  was a  resource, with  vital,  active leadership  and                                                               
involvement in the community.                                                                                                   
3:50:57 PM                                                                                                                    
PETER ZUYUS  directed attention to  his letter in support  of the                                                               
commission [Included  in members' packets] and  pointed out that,                                                               
although the Kenai Peninsula Borough  had more than 18,000 senior                                                               
citizens, growing  at 16  percent annually, it  did not  have any                                                               
representation on  the commission.   He  asked that  the proposed                                                               
bill  contain an  amendment  to  include a  member  of the  Kenai                                                               
Peninsula Borough on the commission.                                                                                            
3:53:03 PM                                                                                                                    
DAVID  LEVY,   Senior  Services  Coordinator,   Anchorage  Senior                                                               
Advisory   Commission,  testified   that  the   Anchorage  Senior                                                               
Advisory  Commission supported  HB  226.   He  reported that  the                                                               
commission  looked  at  issues  of concern  for  seniors  in  the                                                               
Anchorage area.   He  shared that  the Anchorage  Senior Advisory                                                               
Commission  had  worked closely  with  the  Alaska Commission  on                                                               
3:54:45 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEATON closed public testimony.                                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE STUTES  offered anecdotal testimony  regarding the                                                               
Kodiak Senior Center, and how well all the services interact.                                                                   
3:56:32 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEATON  offered his comments on  the Alzheimer's conference                                                               
in Anchorage, and suggested that  committee members try to attend                                                               
any future meetings.                                                                                                            
3:57:16 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  HAWKER directed  attention  to  the fiscal  note,                                                               
noting that it needed a correction,  as the revenues line on page                                                               
1 should reflect the $11 million dollars in federal revenue.                                                                    
3:58:13 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEATON declared that HB 226 would be held over.                                                                           

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB260 ver A.pdf HHSS 1/28/2016 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/15/2016 3:00:00 PM
HB 260
HB260 Sectional Analysis.pdf HHSS 1/28/2016 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/15/2016 3:00:00 PM
HB 260
HB260 Sponsor statement_Governor Transmittal Letter.pdf HHSS 1/28/2016 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/15/2016 3:00:00 PM
HB 260
HB260 Fiscal Note_DHSS-CCB-1-16-16.pdf HHSS 1/28/2016 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/15/2016 3:00:00 PM
HB 260
HB260 Fiscal Note_DOR-PFD-01-19-2016.pdf HHSS 1/28/2016 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/15/2016 3:00:00 PM
HB 260
HB262 ver A.pdf HHSS 1/28/2016 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/15/2016 3:00:00 PM
HB 262
HB262 Sponsor Statement_Governor Transmittal Letter.pdf HHSS 1/28/2016 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/15/2016 3:00:00 PM
HB 262
HB262 Fiscal Note_DHSS-SBPP 1-23-16.pdf HHSS 1/28/2016 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/15/2016 3:00:00 PM
HB 262
HB262 Sectional Analysis.pdf HHSS 1/28/2016 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/15/2016 3:00:00 PM
HB 262
HB 226 ver a.PDF HHSS 1/28/2016 3:00:00 PM
HB 226
HB 226 Sponsor Statement.pdf HHSS 1/28/2016 3:00:00 PM
HB 226
HB 226 Fiscal Note_DHSS-COA-1-25-16.pdf HHSS 1/28/2016 3:00:00 PM
HB 226
HB 226 Background_Commission fact sheet.pdf HHSS 1/28/2016 3:00:00 PM
HB 226
HB 226 Support Letters.pdf HHSS 1/28/2016 3:00:00 PM
HB 226
HB 226 Backgound_ACOA sunset audit executive summary.pdf HHSS 1/28/2016 3:00:00 PM
HB 226
HB 237 Background_Letter Dr Kusano_Licensing issues.pdf HHSS 1/28/2016 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/15/2016 3:00:00 PM
HB 237