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June/July 2017                                                                                       Issue 4

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

June 15th of every year marks a very important day: World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. This day is meant to galvanize our communities, local and around the world, to put a stop to elder abuse and neglect. This abuse has many different faces and to get a better idea of what these faces look like watch this short video.

The most prevalent form of elder abuse is financial abuse. To learn more about what financial abuse looks like, watch this quick video. If you suspect financial abuse, you can contact a Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) counselor in your area.

Numbers to Call:
  • Senior Medicare Patrol at 1-888-515-6565 
  • Missouri Department of Health & Seniors Services:                                                                           Adult Abuse and Neglect Hotline  at 1-800-392-0210
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September 22nd, 2017 marks the 10th year for National Fall Prevention Awareness Day. What does your organization have planned to commemorate this Day? If you are trying to figure out what to do review this document to help spark ideas

Legislative Update from Silver Haired Legislature

2017 Final Legislative Report - May 14, 2017
Submitted by Lynne M. Schlosser
The 2017 Legislative Session has Come to an End….
And what an end it was.   After weeks of filibusters, extreme personality issues and infighting, and a couple days of not working at all, the Senate actually passed a few pieces of legislation the last couple days of session before it came to a grinding to a halt.
Summary of Activity: 
Senate Substitute for House Bill 1194, which prohibits political subdivisions from raising the minimum wage was passed by the House and Senate.
House Committee Bill 3 (HCB3).  Originally, HCB3 would have ended the circuit breaker tax credit for senior and persons with disabilities and the monies saved by eliminating the tax credit have already been appropriated.  The Senate Sub takes a different approach and will find $$ by doing a fund sweep from certain funds that carry an excess balance.  SS, HCB3 passed with a very narrow margin of 83-67.  (82 votes are needed to pass a bill)
With all the animosity and the Senate projecting so much dysfunction and internal fighting, it was a great way to end the session, helping those that need it most... seniors and persons with disabilities!
The Senior Farmers Market Legislation didn’t pass but brought lots of attention to the issue as did the Senor Growth initiative.
All in all, thanks to all your hard work, we advanced priority legislation, saved circuit breakers and secured over $1.3 million in the Triple A’s budget.  

GOP Priorities that Passed the Last Week of Session
The GOP saw success this session sending several priority issues to the Governor. Right to work, expert witness, and statewide ride sharing regulations (Uber/Lyft). Here is a highlight of a few others:
§  Minimum Wage
Earlier in the week Sen. Jamilah Nasheed's spent two hours on the floor filibustering the legislation to repeal St. Louis's minimum wage hike and block other political subdivisions from doing the same. Despite her efforts and the efforts of the other Democrat Senators, House Bill 1194 & 1193 was Truly Agreed and Finally Passed in the last ten minutes of the legislative session. They failed to pass the emergency clause so the bill will go into effect August 28, 2017.

§  Budget/Circuit Breaker
In the last few minutes before the constitutional deadline, the House agreed to and passed the Senate Sub for House Committee Bill 3 maintaining circuit breaker tax credits for seniors and persons with disabilities and replacing it with a onetime fund sweep to fund the $35 gap in the budget that eliminating circuit breakers for renters would have provided. These monies will be deposited into the Senior Services Protection Fund to restore cuts to in home care and nursing home services and restore the 21 points.
§  Discrimination
Senate Bill 43, sponsored by Sen. Gary Romine modifies the Missouri Human Rights Act by raising the standard an employee would have to prove in discrimination claims. The passage of SB 43 will require employees to explicitly prove their protected status motivated the discriminating act. The bill also includes changes to whistleblower statutes and caps punitive damages a victim can be awarded.
§  Blue Alert System 
The Senate passed Senate Bill 34 creating the Blue Alert System which will provide notification to the public when law enforcement officers are killed or injured.
§  Real Id 
In 2009, the legislature passed a law prohibiting the Department of Revenue from complying with the federal Real ID Act. The federal government set a deadline of January 2018 to come into compliance or Missourians would no longer be able to use their driver's licenses to enter military bases, federal facilities or board a commercial airplane. House Bill 15 gives Missourians the option to apply for a driver’s license or ID card to comply with the Real ID act. The law will go into effect August 28, 2017.
§  Collateral Source Rule
One of the GOPs biggest tort reform priorities was Senate Bill 31. It changes the collateral source rule to only allow parties to introduce evidence of the actual cost of medical care rendered instead of the value of the costs. SB 31 also prohibits a person from recovering damages that have already been paid by their insurance.
§  Project Labor Agreements
Senate Bill 182 prohibits the use of project labor agreements on any project where a majority of the funding comes from the state or political subdivision. This and right-to-work were huge setbacks for unions.

Issues That Didn’t Pass
§  Transportation 
Legislators were not able to pass anything that would help fund the crumbling transportation infrastructure. There were a couple proposals to raise the gas tax, but they stalled in both chambers. They established the 21st Century Missouri Transportation System Task Force whose mission is to evaluate the condition of the state’s transportation system and make recommendations regarding funding. 
§  Gift Ban/Ethics Reform
Ethics reform was House priority passing bills early in session and sending them to the Senate who failed to prioritize and bring them to the floor.  The Governor, who has made it no secret how he views lobbyists, also had reform as a priority.  It failed to make it past the Senate.
§  Abortion
There were several bills to further restrict abortions in Missouri but they did not make it past the finish line.
Missouri will remain the only state in the country that does not have a prescription drug monitoring program. House Bill 90, sponsored by Rep. Holly Rehder and handled in the Senate by Sen. Dave Schatz was defeated.  Missouri State Medical Association opposes the mandate and helped to kill the legislation.
§  New Madrid Smelter
Rep. Don Rone added an amendment to a Senate Bill that would give the Public Service Commission authority to establish an economic development rate for an aluminum smelting or steel works facility. It did not pass.

§  West Lake Landfill
A bill that was the cause of some controversy in both the House and Senate Bill 22, sponsored by Sen. Maria Chappelle Nadal which would, subject to appropriations, fund a program to buyout any homeowner whose home is determined by a governmental health or environmental agency to be uninhabitable due to contamination, or whose home is located within 3 miles from the radioactive West Lake landfill. SB 22 passed the Senate but it was defeated in the House the last day of session leading to the beginning of the aforementioned chaos in the Senate. 
Threat of Special Session
The last part of Session the Governor has threatened to call a special session to get his priorities passed. And his post session conference he was vague telling the press when asked, “round two is sooner than you think.” The question is what would he call for in a special session ??  Guess will shall wait and see.
Campaign Finance
U.S. District Judge Ortrie Smith overturned portions of Missouri's new campaign finance that was passed by 70% of voters in November's election. The approved constitutional amendment limited individual campaign contributions to $2,600 per election cycle, prohibited candidate committees from contributing other candidate committees and prohibited some corporations and unions from contributing to campaign committees unless made through an established continuing committee. The only provision the Judge ruled constitutional is the limit to individual campaign contributions. The Attorney General has 45 day from the ruling to appeal the decision.

Fall Rates are High in Missouri

Submitted by Helen Lach

Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) examined falls among community-dwelling older adults in the United States based on the most recent data available from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey (BRFSS).  This survey is administered every year to adults in all age groups, and questions about falls are included every two years.  Participants were asked if they had a fall in the past 12 months, and if they had an injury. Data on falls from older adults from the 2014 survey were reported. Overall, 28.7% of older adults surveyed reported falling, and 37.5% of those who fell experienced an injury (Bergen, Stevens, & Burns, 2016).  This indicates falls continue to be prevalent, as this is similar to fall rates of about 30% from many other studies over the past 20 years.  Researchers also found rates of falls and injuries increase with age.

Older adults in Missouri reported the 5th highest rate of falls among all the other States at 32.4%.  Even more surprising was that injury rates in Missouri were the highest of any state; 12.95 of those who fell reported an injury.  The lowest rate of falls was in Hawaii at 20.8 % and injuries were only 7%.  Weather could be an important factor, as we have rain, wind, and snow with the changing seasons. The researchers did not ask about what kind of injury the older adults experienced, and the question defined injury as “the fall caused you to limit your activities for at least a day or go see a doctor.”  Many injuries may have been minor, but we know from other studies that about 5% of falls result in serious injuries.

Representatives from the Missouri Coalition had a phone conversation with one of the researchers at the CDC to discuss Missouri falls.  They found little data to explain why our rates are so high.  The Data and Evaluation Committee has looked at death rates from falls across Missouri in the past, and found the higher rates tended to be in rural counties (see Figure 3 in our last report on our coalition web site:  The coalition Data and Evaluation committee will work to explore why Missouri rates are high and track changes in falls in Missouri as updated information becomes available.

Reference: Bergen, G., Stevens, M. R., and Burns, E. R. (2016). Falls and fall injuries among adults age > 65 years – United States, 2014. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly, 65 (37), 993-998.



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