Natl. Elder Justice Coalition Endorses Elder Justice Reauthorization and Modernization Act of 2021

The national Elder Justice Coalition (EJC) today gave its strong endorsement to the Elder Justice Reauthorization and Modernization Act of 2021, introduced this weekend in the House and Senate.   T

he House bill, H.R.4969, was authored by House Ways and Means Committee Chair Richard Neal with primary co-sponsor Rep. Suzanne Bonamici, co-chair of the House Elder Justice Caucus. The Senate bill, S.2674, was authored by Sen. Ron Wyden, Chair of the Finance Committee, with primary co-sponsor Sen. Bob Casey, Chairman of the Special Committee on Aging.  

Bob Blancato, EJC National Coordinator, said, “It is a comprehensive, coordinated and forward-looking bill. It will result in a genuine investment of nearly $4 billion in an elder justice infrastructure, featuring adult protective services and the long-term care ombudsman program along with the important addition of improved staffing in nursing homes. New additions to elder justice include supporting medical-legal partnerships and funding to address social isolation and loneliness. We also support the bill’s provision of elder justice grants to Indian tribes and tribal organizations.”  

The bills add to a remarkable nine-month period of progress for elder justice. Unprecedented funding of almost $400 million was provided to the Elder Justice Act in bills passed in December and March. It should be noted that again it was the work of Chairmen Neal and Wyden that resulted in this funding and the EJC is deeply grateful for their tireless work on behalf of elder justice.   

According to the official section-by-section of the bill, program funding includes:

·     $1.6 billion for post-acute and long-term care worker recruitment and retention;
·     $1.4 billion for APS functions and grant programs;
·     $172.5 million for long-term care ombudsman program grants and training;
·     $500 million for supporting linkages to legal services and medical-legal partnerships (MLPs); and
·     $250 million to address social isolation and loneliness  

A joint press release from the sponsors and co-sponsors is here. The bill one-pager is here, the section-by-section summary of the bill is here, and the full bill text is here.  

Blancato said, “The Elder Justice Coalition commits to doing all the advocacy necessary to secure swift passage of the EJRMA. Older adults need all the protection and resources necessary to prevent being victims of elder abuse.”