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Legislative Update: Working for 50+ Rhode Island

Posted on 05/22/19 by John Martin

RI state house by  thurdl01

These are among the bills AARP Rhode Island is supporting as the General Assembly winds down. Thanks to hard, steady efforts by our State House volunteers, lawmakers understand the positive outcomes these proposals can provide. We are there for you.  


DEA Co-Pay- income eligibility increase - Article 17 State Budget

Keeps language in Article 17 of the State Budget that would provide an increase in the DEA co-pay program from 200% of the poverty level to 250% for home care services. Presently, if a person is not eligible for the DEA co-pay program they would pay $28-$30 an hour for a home care company provider. Under the co-pay program the most a person would pay is $7.50 allowing older Rhode Islander’s to stay in their homes and communities, rather than costly nursing homes.


Increase Respite Care Funding by $185,000    S-0438 (Felag) H-8385 (Casimiro)    

Restores the respite care budget to a previous level. Caregiving can be a 24/7 job for unpaid family caregivers. Although caregiving is rewarding it can also be stressful. These funds help family caregivers arrange for a break such as bringing someone into the home, arranging for a loved one to go to day care or even placing a loved one in an overnight facility. The waiting list is currently 104 people.


Guardianship – National Criminal Background Check S-0845 (Coyne)       

Requires a National Criminal Background check for limited guardians and guardians. As highlighted in the recent Providence Journal nine-part special report guardianship abuse poses a threat to many in our state. The threat is compounded when a guardian lives in another state. A Rhode Island BCI does not reveal any criminal convictions in other states.


Family Caregiver Support Act S-0294 (Goodwin)  H-5687 (Casimiro)   

AARP successfully pushed for passage of the Family Caregiver Support Act in 2013. The intent of this legislation is to seek significant improvements in caregiver support including requiring a comprehensive assessment be done for a person seeking Medicaid long term care supports and services at home. However, it currently is difficult to determine whether the assessment are actually being executed. This legislation would provide for more transparency and calls for EOHHS to develop annual reports on the number of caregiver assessments done.


Supported Decision Making S-31 (Satchell) H- 5909 (Craven)  

This bill establishes Supported Decision Making, a less-restrictive alternative to guardianship that could be utilized by probate courts. Supported Decision Making agreements are for people that can make their own decisions but may need a supporter to gather information on their behalf. One example would be a person with early stage Alzheimer’s who can make his/her own decisions, but may need assistance.


Want to become an AARP State House volunteer? Contact Advocacy Director John DiTomasso.  

This story is provided by AARP Rhode Island. Visit the AARP Rhode Island page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.

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