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Observations from Kristen Pavle, Policy Analyst at Health & Medicine's Center for Long-Term Care Reform

Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)
November 24, 2009

Observations from Kristen Pavle, MSW, Policy Analyst at Health & Medicine's Center for Long-Term Care Reform:

Recently attending an Elder Economic Security Initiative state partner summit in Washington, D.C., I had the privilege to meet with two Congressional staff policy advisors who worked for the Senate Special Committee on Aging. 

The Senate Special Committee on Aging was established as a temporary committee in 1961 and was granted permanent status in 1977.  Special committees do not have legislative authority, but are a reliable and essential source of research and information, and often useful in pushing legislation for consideration.  It is currently chaired by Senator Herb Kohl (D-Wisconsin).

Some key Senators who have played a role in the Senate Special Committee on Aging include:
•    Senator Frank Moss (D-Utah)—worked on paying attention to unacceptable nursing home conditions
•    Senator Frank Church (D-Idaho)—focused on protecting older Americans from age discrimination
•    Senator John Heinz (R-Pennsylvania)—researching the Medicare’s Prospective Payment System and the “quicker and sicker” discharge idea

The Special Committee on Aging staffers had much valuable information about current health and aging legislation, for example: the Nursing Home Transparency and Improvement Act(Senate Bill 647), the Physicians Payments Sunshine Act (Senate Bill 301), and the Medicare Payment Improvement Act of 2009 (Senate Bill 1249).

Health & Medicine is partnering with the University ofIllinois at Chicago School of Public Health—Great Lakes Centers forOccupational and Environmental Safety and Health, in convening an OlderHealth Care Workers Workgroup.  It was reassuring to hear that a keyfocus of this Special Committee was older workers! Here is a summary of current legislation on older workers from the Special Committee on Aging.

Please contact me if you have anycomments or questions about my experience with the Senate SpecialCommittee on Aging, the Elder Economic Security Initiative, or ourCenter on Long-Term Care Reform.