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ALASKA COMMISSION ON AGING

MEETING MINUTES

FEBRUARY 22-24, 2005

BARANOF HOTEL  -  JUNEAU, AK

APPROVED   MAY 17, 2005

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 2005

CALL TO ORDER

Chair, Banarsi Lal, called the meeting to order at 9:20 a.m.

ROLL CALL

Members in attendance: Frank Appel, Robert Head, Sharon Howerton-Clark, Dan Karmun, Banarsi Lal, Ed Zastrow.  A quorum was present.

Members not in attendance : Michael Black, Betty Keegan, Ray Matiashowski, Priscilla Thorsness 

ACoA Staff: Linda Gohl, Nancy Karacand, MaryAnn VandeCastle, Lillan Bradley

INTRODUCTION OF GUESTS

Marianne Mills,Pat Branson, Jim Carroll, Karleen Jackson and Joel Gilbertson.  Michelle Holloway, GEC, joined via teleconference.

ADOPTION OF THE AGENDA

Added Jim Shine – Alaska Traumatic Brain Injury Board(TBI), Thursday at 11:20 a.m.  No objections.  Approved.

ADOPTION OF THE MINUTES FROM THE DECEMBER 2-3, 2004 MEETING

Motion: Sharon Howerton-Clark and Ed Zastrow to adopt minutes of December 2004 meeting.

REPORTS FROM STATE AGENCIES

JOEL GILBERTSON – DHSS COMMISSIONER

*Commissioner Gilbertson and Karleen Jackson.  .  Philosophies of department:

1.         Promoting self-sufficiency; independency has a different meaning to different population groups.  Seniors live as long as possible as independently as possible. 

2.         Acknowledging that not everyone can be self-sufficient; invest in strong safety net.

3.         Develop better infrastructure for underserved areas/groups and focus on prevention.

Of the bills presented by the governor this session the one concerning senior care legislation is HB 106 SeniorCare Program which extends the $120 monthly cash benefit for very low income from December 31, 2005 to June 30, 2007, and adding a new program for those with incomes up to 300% of poverty, where the state would pay the annual deductible and monthly premiums when the federal government implements the new Medicare Part D drug benefit program expected to occur January 1, 2006.   Seniors will need to make a decision to opt in or out of the plan.  If they opt in, they will then have to choose a plan in which to participate.  There will probably be at least two different options for Alaska.  1) Individual will have to pay a premium and deductible, a total of $670 (a $35-36/month) the first year.  2) State will pay the premium and deductible; however, $670 must be paid out of pocket before they get their first dollar of benefit.  There has been some resistance, not to the concept, but to the cut-off.  This group [ACOA] needs to weigh in on this.  Also, another bill HB 105 increases dental service coverage for adults for those eligible under Medicaid.  The real impetus is seniors as it will cover either the upper or lower part of new dentures per year.

Medicaid has become long-term care insurance for Americans, regardless of income.  State is now paying for 95% of long-term care beds (skilled nursing).  This will require much federal work to build a long-term care system that takes the burden off Medicaid, which was never intended for this purpose.  The Pioneer Home in Palmer will also become a Veterans’ home with 79 beds.  It’s moving slow but coming along.  No one is forced to leave or relocate.  The vets have to be age 65+. States are still digesting what it all means.  CMS involved.  Federal program has a subsidy for seniors.  SSA involved because they provide the subsidy for low-income seniors.  The department will continue to staff senior information office; work with AARP and senior centers.  Right now this is all conceptual.

Question from Dan Karmun: “Are there any other combo facilities?”  Yes, there are veterans in all our Pioneer Homes.  They are being denied benefits. If they stay in a “veterans’ home”, they get a per diem veteran’s benefit.  The goal is to convert the other homes, but they have to meet federal standards which require improvements to the facility. 

Linda Gohl: “regarding the claw back provision, is it set in federal statute?” “Yes, however it raises concerns of “federalism” at the state level.  Feds knew states would save dollars on Medicaid due to Medicare part D as prescriptions are currently covered by the state but those individuals would be covered under the new federal program.   The states won’t be paying drug costs for dual eligibles.   So the claw back provision allows the federal government to determine how much each state should be charged for the converted coverage.  This will cause an increment in our budget, could be as much as $72 million.  The states are now paying the bulk of the Medicare drug costs.  The hope is that Congress will revisit the bill before implementation starts and fix it up front.   CMS is opposed to changing the formula.

DIVISION OF SENIOR & DISABILITIES SERVICES (DSDS)  REPORT:  STEVE ASHMAN – DSDS DIRECTOR. 

It costs approximately $285 million for approximately 6,000 plus people with 3,300 or so on PCA [Personal Care Attendant] Medicaid program and remaining on 40% on Medicaid Home/Community Based Waivers, which includes 700 nursing home residents.   The department is asking for an increase of $16.7 million for Medicaid.  The PCA program is the “wildcard” when trying to project future costs and general fund needs.  Pioneers’ Homes now bill Medicaid for their eligible residents.  The state is looking at alternatives to current waivers. Look at best practices, look at growth in population needing services and come up with a plan for the future.   The division would like to continue nursing home transition program when that federal grant expires.  Rita Walker has transitioned 78 people out of nursing homes back into their own communities. The FY06 budget includes a General Fund increase of $225,000 to continue this program.  Letters of support to Legislators from the Commission would be helpful.  The cost of nursing home care is $155,000 per year.  Educating the legislature that it’s that high because Alaska chooses to fund critical access hospitals by funding nursing home care.  Stand-alone nursing homes are not affiliated with hospitals and can be $200 per day.   

Asking for $750,000 increase in general relief which pays for vulnerable adults in assisted living homes; this is just to maintain funding to meet legislative mandate for this program.  DSDS will do whatever is necessary to maintain the State Plan.   The budget includes one new position for the adult protective services program.  

The data conversion project on the DD side should be resolved this week, which will help speed up payments to providers for Medicaid billings.  The Division is now using the same assessment tool for both DD and senior HCB Waivers, from the state of Maine.     The department will soon be issuing an RFP for professional services, related to a long term care study.   Task Force for the Real Choice Systems Change Grant is preparing a report for a self directed waiver for consideration by the department. 

Break at 10:30 and back on record at 10:50.  

DSDS REPORT:  LISA MORLEY – SENIOR GRANTS PROGRAM COORDINATOR:

Currently working on RFP to go out in March for meals, rides, national senior service corp programs, and homemaker services.   Combining other home and community based care: Innovative respite was funded by Mental Health Trust, only ADRD people were eligible.  There are frail elders without ADRD and who don’t qualify for waiver who need “a little bit of help.”  (Chore)  If same 12 providers are interested, we can negotiate with them rather than doing a competitive RFP for Care Coordination and Respite and combining funds for these with ADRD services.  Providers have 45 days to respond.  The grants will be awarded sometime in May.  Also separate RFP may be issued for the National Family Caregiver Support Program as well as for Adult Day Services, depending on letters of interest we receive.  Every program will get visited at least once in every grant cycle.  This will be a three year grant cycle for the RFPs.

PUBLIC COMMENT

Marianne Mills, Director Southeast Senior Services:   Thanked the DSDS and ACoA staff for all of their efforts and hard work on behalf of seniors. 

Rosemary Hagevig, Executive Director, Catholic Community Services, Juneau:   Received several grants to purchase and remodel a building to house their adult day program, HUD, block grant, and Rasmuson Foundation, and are using CCS reserves to build a new garage at the site to house the Care-A-Vans.  Are also considering adding a “memory garden.”  The project should be completed sometime this summer.  They will be vacating the space at Mountain View Senior Apartments now used for their adult day program.  

Richard Rainery, Executve Director, Alaska Mental Health Board:    Mr. Rainery reported on recent legislative advocacy activities of the AMHB and offered to join forces with the ACoA in our advocacy efforts.   Discussed federal funding and possible changes to the mental health funding where approximately 1,000 seniors could lose eligibility for services by 2010.

PIONEERS’ HOME ADVISORY BOARD REPORT:  Ed Zastrow, Chair.  For FY06 there will not be any increases to the rates or five levels of care.  2006 budget includes increment for 6 new positions which are needed as there is more demand for Level III care. The new average age of entry to the homes has increased to 84 – 87 years old.  Discussed other items in the departments Budget Overview, pages 31-39 for the Pioneers Home system.   Pat Branson asked if the Long Term Care Study as proposed by the Division of Senior and Disabilities Services will include the PH system, and Steve Ahsman said it will, and also home and community based care services.  Levels of care in the PH system may be adjusted.  

AGENET REPORT, Pat Branson, Chair, and Executive Director for the Senior Citizens of Kodiak: AgeNet has been around for a number of years and is comprised of senior service providers across the state.  Anyone concerned with meeting senior needs is welcome to join.  We have received legislative priorities for 2005 and we’ll be advocating for them in the next few days.  Our efforts to enhance ACoA’s power by adding a provider/caregiver seat to the membership is moving forward.  Home community based services saves the state money versus nursing home care, and seniors do best in their own homes and  communities when services come to them. This gives them more independence and helps them live longer.  John Bittney is AgeNet’s lobbyist.”    Senior Citizens of Kodiak received $307,000 from the Rasmuson Foundation to expand our facility for adult day services, and will allow us to offer services 7 days a week.

AARP REPORT:  Marie Darlin, AARP Coordinator for AARP Capital City Task Force:   Marie introduced Liz Lucas, the new statewide AARP president.  AARP has 79,000 members in Alaska.  AARP is supporting senior care and dental legislation and it’s going to be important to be heard when these get to the Finance Committee.  Other legislation includes hearing screening for newborns, etc.  AARP is the biggest organization of grandparents and does not want seniors pitted against children’s needs.  We are following the Pioneers Homes bill.  The medical malpractice (see handout for AARP’s view) we are a consumer advocate.  We’re watching legislation ‘crimes against elderly victims’ closely as its very important.  If you have any questions, please call me or the Anchorage office.”

ALASKA HOUSING FINANCE CORP. REPORT:  Jim McCall, Housing Relations Manager.  Funding for senior projects: 16 entities in December had approached AHFC and four applied for building funds and three were awarded: Willow, six units for $887,000, Nikiski eight units for $360,000, and Lowden Tribal Council ten units for $321,000, a total of 1.5 million for 25 units.  Most of the applicants are mental health beneficiaries rather than seniors. 

Pre-development planning grants have been awarded:  $20,000 each to Kenai, Palmer, Soldotna, Aleutians, and $10,000 each to Nilnilchik and Fairbanks. 

There is also a $642,000 loan for Sterling Area Seniors for ten units of housing that is completed that has seven one-bedroom and three two-bedrooms units.  Moose River Manor for nine unties, seven one bedroom and two, two bedroom units.  Other proposals being considered: Palmer’s proposed assisted living by converting ownership for Mountain Rose Estate (east of the state fairgrounds) to assisted living; Haines proposal of $3.5 million for 12 units for assisted living; seed money awarded to Ketchikan to use for applying for a construction loan; Cooper Landing is moving forward with six units; and a $5.4 million loan from AHFC and $ 7 – 8 million from HUD for the McKay building for 58 beds for 1 st and 4 th floors, for assisted living known as the ‘McKinley Towers’ in Anchorage.  The remaining ten floors will be apartments.  Mark Marlow is the owner.  There are many changes happening within ADRC and SILC.   There is a moratorium on the state’s housing choice voucher program due to HUD cutbacks, and no more vouchers are being issued to states.

A study was done that indicated Anchorage had a need of 208 additional assisted living beds.  The Older Persons’ Action Group (OPAG) survey indicated there are currently 89 vacant beds.  Most believe that smaller assisted homes are not competition for the larger homes, so they are discounted often in the surveys.  AHFC’s Comprehensive housing plan is out for comment the deadline is March 31 st

The federal grant project for Aging and Disability Resource Centers was awarded by the U.S. Administration on Aging to AHFC for $800,000 last April. The project is for 3 years.  AHFC subcontracted with the  State Independent Living Council to administer the project, with  Melanie Peterson as the project manager.   Two pilot projects are up and running, one in Kenai and the other in Juneau with the Southeast Alaska Independent Living, where Joan O’Keefe manages this part of project.   At Steve Ashman’s request, Jim said AHFC would be willing to assist the department in disseminating materials from CMS on medicare program changes during their public events/trainings, and at the resource centers.

NATIONAL RESOURCE CENTER FOR ALASKA NATIVES, AMERICAN INDIANS, AND NATIVE HAWAIIAN ELDERS REPORT: Dr. George Charles and Janelle Smith.   UAA selected gerontology as their central focus for their successful grant from the U.S. Administration on Aging.    Dan Karmun has been very helpful in setting up meetings to develop protocols for Alaska Natives. The goal is to bring together agencies in coordinated culturally based planning; have multiple partnerships, i.e. GEC, AOA, ANTHC, etc.; conferences of elders; record and describe values of Native elders to understand appropriate Native health care standards; elder abuse; less alcohol; make sure elders are more active and respected, the changes will happen.  Cultural genocide and cultural holocaust, these terms came up over and over which resulted in social turmoil in villages and inadequate support to care for elders.  The removing of the elders from their communities has had negative consequences.  Tribal and community healing are enhanced when elders are treated with respect.  The summary papers are on our web site (see handout).

Dr. Brian Saylor prepared a statistical report on health status of Alaska Natives: proportion of elders in Alaska Natives is smaller than in other races.  The frail elderly population is growing fastest, especially in urban areas of the state and suggests a migration of elders from rural to urban communities maybe due to lack of services.  Fewer differences in causes of death among elderly of all races; cancer and heart disease; but, Natives have more unintentional injury death and more chronic conditions than American Indian elders.  Chronic conditions were related to income and education level.  Most frequent limitations: walking, heavy housework.  Accidents and injuries generate more inpatient days for Native elders than any other cause.  Alaska Native elders in urban areas use disproportionate level of medical services.  Elders prefer assisted living and nursing home care.”  (They will send out hard copies.)

REVIEW SCHEDULE FOR VISITS WITH LEGISLATORS: 

Nancy Karacand, Planner II:  reviewed schedule for visits with legislators and legislative priorities.  Linda Gohl will testify today at House Judiciary committee hearing on Rep. Stoltze’s proposed legislation pertaining to increasing the penalty for crimes against those 65 and older, unless the Commissioners want to.  We have sent letters of support on the House HESS Committee members to extend the sunset date for the Suicide Prevention Council, the Governor’s expanded dental and senior care programs, and will be sending letters to the Senate Committee members for the Senate versions.  We sent out a survey to all Legislative Advocacy committee members prior to this meeting asking what to recommend to the full commission as legislative priorities.  Some priorities have changed since that time.  Other legislative items:

  • ADRD as eligible criteria for Medicaid funding probably won’t occur this year as this would require that the state submit an application to the feds and require increases in the general fund. This would be a hard fight right now given the political climate in the legislature.  But, we’ll continue to pursue.
  • We support DSDS requiring agencies target ADRD folks for grant services.  Also, the self-directed waiver that the Task Force is considering might open way for “universal worker” which might help.
  • Support senior grant program at its current level; APS funding increase; nursing home transitions program continuation using new general funds; and expanding Medicaid dental to include preventive dental care for older Alaskans.
  • Senior grant services funding: DSDS director will confirm in writing that the department will use existing general funds of $330,000 in FY06 to restore grant funding levels to FY04 for adult day/care coordination, and $437,500 in GF/MH for the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority (AMHTA) project match, ADRD Support Services ($250.0) and Innovative Respite ($187.5), will be rolled into available funding for “in home services” under the  senior grant program.  Excess AMHTA funds not awarded in FY05 (ADRD) will require a roll forward request to the AMHTA as well as to the department for increased MHTAAR receipt authority in FY06.  Will ask that the department include in FY07 budget an increase to GF/MH by $437,500, the amount we did not receive for FY06 from AMTHA for ADRD services.  
  • ID theft and crimes against seniors
  • Change DOA seat to public member seat on ACoA.

Suggestion was made to have legislative bills, detailed background and other pertinent information made available for each bill at an earlier time so ACoA members have more time to prepare.   Linda stated this would require a full-time staff person during session, or an intern, devoted to doing nothing else but work and research on legislative issues.  At the present time ACoA doesn’t have the budget for the position or office space.  Nancy Karacand offered to work this evening preparing a document summarizing the priority bills and issues and have it available for hand out to members on Wednesday. 

Recessed at 3:30.   Members went to the Capital from 4:00 – 5:30 for appointments with legislators.

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 23, 2005

CALL TO ORDER

Chair, Banarsi Lal, called the meeting to order at 9:12 a.m..

ROLL CALL

Members in attendance: Frank Appel, Sharon Howerton-Clark, Dan Karmun, Banarsi Lal, Ed Zastrow.  Steve Ashman joined at 9:45 a.m. as he was at a House Finance Committee meeting, and Michael Black joined at 11:00 a.m.

Members not in attendance : Betty Keegan, Ray Matiashowski, Priscilla Thorsness 

ACoA Staff: Linda Gohl, Nancy Karacand, MaryAnn VandeCastle, Lillan Bradley

ALASKA MENTAL HEALTH TRUST AUTHORITY REPORT:  Jeff Jesse, Executive Director; Nelson Page, Trustee.   Jeff and Nelson updated the members on the Trust’s legislative priorities: Bring the Kids home, Adult Dental, prevention program for alcohol and drug dependency, Governor’s SeniorCare Program, Pioneer Home increment for staffing, nursing home transition program.  Met with several members of the House finance committee this morning.   Discussed advocacy approaches and methods that the Commission may want to consider implementing before end of this session.  Letters of support and testifying at committee hearings and meeting with legislators and staff face to face are good methods.  Nelson stated that the medicaid budget has seen 18-20% increases over the past two years,

Bill Hudson, Former Alaska Representative.   Mr. Hudson was invited to speak to the Commission and present his perspective on how to advocate legislators, what is effective and to respect that their time is spread thin.  Make appointments, keep your appointments, be prepared by knowing your subject very well and succinctly state what it is that you want them to do.  Position papers are best if kept to one page.  Know who their constituency is and establish a good repore with their staff and key staff on specific subjects.    The Commission thanked Mr. Hudson for taking the time to meet with them and for his advice.

ACoA COMMITTEE REPORTS

ACoA Legislative Advocacy Committee:  See Nancy Karacand’s handout detailing legislative priorities as discussed on Tuesday.  Staff prepared materials and assembled “intro to ACoA” packets, and delivered to the Capital building last week.

PUBLIC COMMENT

11:30 a.m. No one on line

Jim Shine, Alaska Traumatic Brain Injury Board (ATBIB) Chair.  Mr. Shine informed the members of the prevalence of traumatic brain injuries in the state based on results of a federally funded study conducted by the Division of Behavioral Health (DBH).   Alaska is 5 th of 14 states with a 17% higher rate than those states of TBI.  84.4 per 100,000 people affected by TBI.   Services are splintered and families receive no support, but they are the primary caregivers.  Seniors have the 2 nd highest injury rate, and highest for undiagnosed.  It takes 9.6 years before children and seniors are diagnosed correctly with TBI.  DBH has implemented a mandatory screening tool for use by all behavorial health grantees. Statewide provider’s training began in March 2005 and second program will occur March 2006.   Mr. Shine offered to submit a written report to Commission staff.   Mr. Shine thanked the members for their Executive Directors active participation on the TBI board.

Kay Branch, Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC ).  The Chair invited Ms. Branch to speak to the members and provide an update on the ANTHC elder needs assessment study which will be completed in March.  Ms. Branch will provide a full report on the outcome of the study at the Commission’s May meeting.    She also informed the group that the Hospice organization in Anchorage is hosting a palliative care training May 10-12.

Recessed until Thursday at 9:30.     Members will continue with appointments with Legislators for the rest of the day, and from 8:30 – 9:30 Thursday morning.

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 2005

CALL TO ORDER

Chair, Banarsi Lal, called the meeting to order at 9:32 a.m.

ROLL CALL

Members in attendance: Frank Appel, Steve Ashman, Robert Head, Sharon Howerton-Clark, Dan Karmun, Banarsi Lal, Ed Zastrow.  A quorum was present.

Members not in attendance : Michael Black, Betty Keegan, Ray Matiashowski, Priscilla Thorsness 

ACoA Staff: Linda Gohl, Nancy Karacand, MaryAnn VandeCastle, Lillan Bradley

OUTCOME OF LEGISLATIVE VISITS

Each group gave a report on what responses from Legislators.   All supported senior issues, but many had concerns about increases to the general fund for new programs or expanding programs, such as the SenorCare legislation. All members asked legislator’s staff if they received the ACoA introductory packets sent last week. 

Frank Appel and Sharon Howerton met with Lyda Green, Paul Seaton, MIke Chenault, Fred Dyson, and Mike Hawker.  Ed Zastrow and Bob Head met with Bert Stedman, Kevin Meyer, Peggy Wilson, Bittner (staff), Bruce Weyhrauch (staff), Lesil McGuire, Kim Elton.  Ed also had an evening constituent meeting with Peggy Wilson, Kim Elton and Bert Stedman.  Banarsi Lal and Dan Karmun met with Wilken, Kelly, Olson, Rep. Foster’s staff, Kohring, and Holm.  Rep. Stoltz was unable to make his appointment although Banarsi waited for an hour.

Ed Zastrow attended the House Finance Subcommittee meeting this morning before his first appointment, and heard the DHSS’s presentation of their FY06 $1.7 million budget.  Commissioner Gilbertson asked for support of the members for general fund increments for essential services.

Follow up activities include staff contacting Betty Keegan, Legislative Advocacy Chair, to schedule the next committee meeting.  Frank Appel suggested surveying the members regarding appointments with Legislators and what worked well and what didn’t.

HB  156 – Changing the Membership of ACoA Board:   Marianne Mills, Southeast Senior Services and on behalf of AgeNet asked the Commission to consider asking that language in the proposed legislation be changed from a public member seat to a provider seat which would replace the existing Department of Administration seat.   AgeNet members visited legislators, LeDue, Gary Stevens, Wilson, Coghill and the sponsor, of the bill, Rep. Holm asking for their support for this change. 

Barbara Cotting from Rep. Holm’s office asked the Commission to consider AgeNets’ request and suggested it would be helpful if they took a vote today before the bill moves to the next committee.  Otherwise this organization will continue to testify at each committee hearing in both the House and Senate in support of their requested change.   If the Commission supports the change, then Rep. Holm could introduce a committee substitute prior the bill being scheduled for a hearing in House Finance.   Marianne stated that the other beneficiary boards all have allotted seats for service providers in their respective statutes.

MOTION:  Ed Zastrow and Steve Ashman moved to support AgeNet’s request that the Department of Administration seat on the ACoA be designated as a provider seat.

Discussion:  Members offered that a provider could be an asset to the board; if the seat remains a public seat, Governor can make the decision to appoint a provider; would there be an age requirement?  Should there be an experience requirement?

MOTION:   Ed Zastrow and Steve Ashman moved to postpone action on the motion until after lunch, and was approved unanimously.

Recessed to attend Senator Ted Stevens presentation before a Joint House and Senate Floor Session at 11:00 a.m. 

The meeting reconvened at 1:04 p.m. 

MOTION: Steve Ashman moved to amend motion, and Ed concurred, that HB 156 be amended, and that the DOA seat be changed to a  senior services provider, regardless of age, and be a recipient of a Division of Senior and Disabilities Services senior services grant.  The motion passed unanimously.

ACoA COMMITTEE REPORTS

Planning Committee:  Frank Appel, Chair,  provided updates on status of holding White House Conference on Aging events planned for April 21 and 22 in Anchorage and referred members to Tab 17 of the meeting packets and MaryAnn VandeCastle’s overview for community held forums, survey for seniors, letters of invitation to engage local partners, and he schedule for Juneau forum.  On behalf of the planning committee, Frank complimented MaryAnn for the detailed and good work she has done planning these events and documents.

Real Systems Change Grant:   Banarsi Lal gave a status of each component of this federal grant from CMS. ACoA members Betty Keegan, Frank Appel, Dan Karmun and Banarsi Lal, and Nancy Karacand, staff are members of the Task Force Committee.  PASS grant pertains to the personal attendant training program at UAA; nursing home transition grant where 78 clients have transitioned from nursing homes back to their own home or apartment which has been very successful and the department supports.  This grant ends June 2005.   Intent is to change the waiver to allow personal household items be covered under Medicaid; a new waiver “self directed” or now calling a “new freedom” waiver, includes a demonstration waiver to transition this new method.  The Governor’s Council on Disabilities has contracted with UAA to prepare the application to CMS on behalf of the State to add this to the Waiver program.  The department would have to agree and sign the application.  The GCDSE also hired a technical person from University of Oregon to help with this project; quality assurance project includes a surveying waiver clients to include providers and clients in their homes.  At the next meeting the Task Force Committee will decide what projects are a priority, and will be asking that the department sign a request for a no cost extension to CMS so the remaining funds will not lapse and the project may move forward for implementation.

Gerontology Education and Training Committee :  Ella Craig, ad hoc member for this committee, and member of the University of Alaska Geriatric Education Center (GEC) Committee  called to give a status report.   In February the GEC held a celebration during the 50 th Anniversary of UAA.   There are three GEC advisory boards representing southcentral, interior and southeast Alaska, of which the interior and southeast boards have recently met.  The GEC is planning the many agenda items and providing help in coordinating the Full-Lives direct service workers’ training conference to be held in Anchorage on April 21 st .  The GEC has began a certified Eden Alternative Associate training program for assisted living and nursing home workers. 

PUBLIC COMMENT

DHSS, Division of Public Health.  Karen Lawfer, Russ Stevens and Paula Recchia, presented an overview of recent health and disease prevention programs; Take Heart, Physical Activity, and Injury and Fall Prevention.   Karen stated the department is applying for a $1.0 million Center for Disease Control grant and would like to partner with the Commission in any of health promotions for seniors.     If awarded this grant, they will be surveying the entire state.    Karen will be a presenter at the Full Lives Conference.

RURAL LONG TERM CARE COORDINATOR REPORT:  Nancy Webb, Coordinator.   Nancy has been working with service and health care providers in Nome to pursue next steps for planning assisted living home facility.   They will be soliciting for a contractor to develop feasibility study, and she recommended that they use AHFC’s list of pre-development contractors to solicit interest.  Also working to transition existing independent living facilities where some units would accommodate more frail elders and also provide in home services.  Nancy will also do some follow up with Kawarek Association  and members of the Native Village of Unalakleet in April to assist with assisted living home plans in their community.  The Nome Community Center received a $50,000 pre-development grant from the Denail Commission.   Dan Karmun stated that the Norton Sound Health Corp. developed memorandums of agreement with each tribal organization/village in the region to coordinate health care and social program needs for their region.   Nancy stated a pending assisted living facility project in Port Graham which her predecessor worked on is not feasible at this time.   Nancy said she would do some followup to answer Frank’s question regarding why Angoon has vacant apartments in their senior housing facility. 

ACOA MEMBER REPORTS ON ACTIVITES

Members each gave  a brief report on activities related to senior issues or on behalf of the Commission, since the December 2004 meeting. 

FALL ACOA MEETING:

ACoA staff prepared a budget for holding the next meeting in either Kodiak, Fairbanks, Ketchikan or Soldotna (Kenai area.)   

MOTION:   Sharon Howerton-Clark and Ed moved that the Commission meet in Kodiak for their rural outreach meeting.   Discussion.     Motion was withdrawn. 

Discussion continued and members decided to narrow the communities to either Kodiak or the Kenai Peninsula and to take a verbal vote.    The majority votes were to hold the meeting on the Kenai Peninsula and to visit several communities for site visits, September 27, 28 and 29, 2005.    During the May meeting staff will present scenarios for various senior center site visits.   

Next ACoA meeting will be held May 17 – 18 and a Future of Aging in Alaska ACoA community forum on May 19 th , at the Lake Lucille Inn, Wasilla, Alaska.

Members have a visit scheduled, thanks to Ed Zastrow for arranging, Friday, February 25 th at the Juneau Pioneers’ Home in the a.m., and will attend the ACOA WHCOA event at the Juneau Senior Center from 1 – 4:00 p.m.


ADJOURNED at 4:10 p.m.