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Mineral Daily News-Tribune - Keyser, WV
  • THE ROWAN REPORT: Bill sseks to help keep elderly in their homes

  • Last week the Committee on Senior Citizen Issues passed out House Concurrant Resolution 25. This resolution urges the inclusion of sufficient funds in the 2015 budget to eliminate the wait list for the Aged and Disabled Waiver program.
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  • Last week the Committee on Senior Citizen Issues passed out House Concurrant Resolution 25. This resolution urges the inclusion of sufficient funds in the 2015 budget to eliminate the wait list for the Aged and Disabled Waiver program. The West Virginia Aged and Disabled Waiver program currently serves over 7000 West Virginians with well over 2000 applicants waiting to enter the program. This program assists the elderly and disabled so that they can remain in their own homes. It is estimated that full expansion of the program to accommodate everyone on the waiting list would require the state to spend an additional $13 million, but it would create almost $78 million in business and approximately 1006 jobs. Vocational and Technical Schools would also be impacted as they prepare their students to fill these jobs. A report from West Virginia University's Bureau of Business and Economic Research estimates that the program at present generates $285 million in economic activity, $5.5 million in total tax revenues, and supports more than 3000 jobs annually.
    This week three House Concurrent Resolutions were passed out of the Committee on Senior Citizen Issues. The first one was HCR 57. This resolution addresses the need for the licensing of adult day care centers that implement a hybrid model of care. This model would provide an organized day program of therapeutic, social health maintenance, and restorative services in a non-institutional, community based setting. Adult day care centers provide less than 24 hour care to the elderly or those suffering with Alzheimer's disease who do not need long term residential care, in home care, or require the attention of a caregiver due to some mental or physical impairment. These centers also would provide respite and support to an individual's regular caregiver or family members.
    These centers would allow them to remain in their own home community rather than be placed in a 24 hour, long term residential care facility. There are currently no licensed adult day care centers in West Virginia. West Virginia is the only state in the country that does not cover adult day care services under Medicaid.
    HCR58 authorizes a study on the growing needs for in home care and personal services for West Virginia's aging population. The Bureau of Senior Services was created to promote the health, safety, and welfare to our seniors. It is tasked with administering community and in home care services, providing preventative maintenance, and restorative services for the frail elderly, disabled, or terminally ill. 16.8% of West Virginia's population is 65 or older. This study will help in the planning for the growing needs for in-home care and personal services for our aging population.
    HCR 59 directs the Bureau of Senior Services to issue a report on the growing needs for in-home care and personal services for our aging population, and its abilities and challenges in meeting those growing needs.
    Other resolutions already in the system include HJR 10 which defines marriage in the State of West Virginia to be the legal union between one man and one woman. This resolution is titled "The Defense of Marriage Amendment."
    Page 2 of 2 - HJR 21- The Homestead Exemption Increase Amendment. The purpose of this amendment is to allow each county to increase the homestead exemption from $20,000 to an amount not to exceed $50,000 or an amount equal to fifty percent of the average property value in the county, whichever is greater. After being introduced on January 9, 2014, it was moved to the Committee on Finance.
    If you have any questions on these or other resolutions you can contact me in Charleston by phone: 304-340-3157; by e-mail: ruth.rowan@wvhouse.gov; or mail: Room 2-R, 1900 Kanawha Blvd., East, Charleston, WV, 25305.

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