Did you know that Federation champions Jewish community needs in the Georgia State Legislature? Working with our partners, we coordinate the community’s government relations and lobbying activities. Rusty Paul, our legislative advocate, helps advance our agenda in the legislature. Federation also monitors Jewish Federations of North America’s (JFNA) public policy efforts and participates in multiple forums at the Federal level including representation on the Jewish Federations of North America’s (JFNA) Disability and Health and Long-term Care Committees, as well as participation in Jewish Ability Advocacy Day in Washington DC.
Read on to learn about Jewish Community priority issues for the 2021 Legislative Session.
Bold indicates new priority for 2021
- PRIORITY ISSUES
- Medicaid reimbursement rates for the William Bremen Home based on current year cost reports (ongoing, but reimbursement rates were updated in 2014).
- Medicaid preservation and expansion. Increase the number of Georgians with access to health insurance and healthcare.
- Protect Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and create a Georgia work credit.
- Create uniform start and stop dates for public schools across counties since truncated summer schedules are negatively affecting camp enrollment and ability to hire staff. This will help camps have certainty about the summer vacation window available to them.
- Focus on adding resources for Federation affiliate agencies to fulfill their mission.
- Legislation pertaining to protection against hate crimes and religious liberty – strengthen existing GA code to include International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Semitism, reference anti-Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.
- Protect “Money Follows the Person” with disabilities allowing for options for community-based services and alternatives to institutional settings
- Support Gracie’s Law which advocates to end organ transplant discrimination against people with disabilities.
- COALITION ISSUES
- Rewrite language of Paycheck Protection Program reimbursement form to be relevant and appropriate for nonprofit organizations.
Aging and Disabilities
- Support Unlock the Waiting List agenda including increases in “slots” (people) to be served under Medicaid waivers (intellectual/developmental disabilities, independent care for people with physical disabilities), expansion of Grant in Aid Family Support Services and update the multiple-year funding plan for waiver slots as well as non-Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services, and Community Care Services Program.
- Increase funding for “Exceptional Rate” waivers and improve utilization approval process for those with needs beyond what waivers typically pay, and/or monitor changes to waiver rates (such as tiered rates, per capita rates, and block grants) and advocate for maximum benefits to clients and providers.
- Increase in developmental disability service provider reimbursement for day services and supported employment.
- Urge the state to use discretionary capacity to continue the availability of Medicaid retainer payments and to extend Medicaid’s time-limited, emergency response waivers for home- and community-based services (HCBS), known as 1915(c) Appendix K waivers, given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. See whatever latitude the State has to allow providers of disability community and home-based services to receive the same level of funding as the pre-COVID amounts. Virtual programming equivalence can be used as the basis for this flexibility.
- Increase in nursing home provider reimbursement.
- Support legislation allowing children who have IEP in Pre-K to move to private school for kindergarten.
- Work to strengthen workforce development solutions for the critical shortage of qualified direct support professionals.
- Address the burden of multiplicative regulatory oversight of intellectual/developmental disability (I/DD) supports, and Georgia’s years-long waiting list for I/DD support funding.
III. ISSUES TO BE MONITORED
Aging and Disabilities
- Support assisted living level of long-term care and better enforcement of regulations, reporting of abuse, access to information regarding violations, and other quality indicators at assisted living facilities.
- Protect legislation pertaining to establishing interstate partnerships for special needs trusts (Able Accounts).
- Affordable housing and home repair for older adults.
Children and Families
- Find ways to increase access to mental health services for children and youth.
- Monitor ALEF educational tax credit funding for challenges to current funding structure.
- Changes in early childhood service delivery such as teacher qualifications, staff to child ratio, and health regulations and changes in camping regulations.
- Year around schooling/later start of school year.