Both in funding and in legislation, issues facing human services, the disabled and the elderly were addressed by the Legislature this session. Legislation included the following:
HB 426 - Reinstates a three-year sales use exemption for food donated to food banks around the state by the food industry and exempts sales taxes on purchases of rural health clinics and volunteer health clinics.
HB 72 - Tightens the abuse law concerning abuse, neglect and exploitation of disabled adults and the elderly by providing more tools to detect, report and prosecute cases of abuse or mistreatment. Allows the introduction of evidence gained from an inspection warrant and allows preferred scheduling in courts. Included the addition to the Good Samaritan Law applying to persons rescuing children from a locked vehicle and includes provisions relating to disclosure of AIDS confirmation information.
HB 342 – Deals with nursing home violations and separates regulatory violations from violations of law. Controls what can be released in advertising or public disclosure from inspection reports and prohibits misleading advertising concerning regulatory violations.
HB 505 - Revises “Physical Therapist Act” to allow for “self-referral” to a licensed physical therapist (PT) but therapy is limited to eight visits or 21 days before the patient has to see a physician.
HB 511 - Allows skilled nursing facilities and hospices to use automated medication dispensers.
SB 111 - Expands the types of services that continuing care providers and facilities may provide such as assisted living care or personal care home services and may include obligation of lodging and food. Also service to resident-owned living units is allowed. Continuing care personal services may be provided at a facility, home, or off-site of a facility.
SB 79 - Increases for victims of crimes the compensation for funeral expenses from $3,000 to $6,000 and allows for children by marriage and individuals related by marriage to receive the funding. Adds parents, step-parents and step-children of the victim to the eligibility list.
HB189 - Reduces the residency requirements for admittance to the War Veterans Nursing Home and the State War Veterans Home from five years to two years or to a minimum of at least five years out of the last 15 in residency in Georgia.
Human Services funding increases for disabled, seniors, etc.
• $1.6 million for GBI for eight agents to specialize in elder abuse cases
• $500,000 will pay for expanded services at free charity health care clinics statewide
• $3 million will fund the pilot program recommended by the Governor’s Rural Hospital Commission
• $23 million to make up for lost federal payments for primary care physicians and OB/GYNs treating children on Medicaid/PeachCare
• $693,000 to add 11 adult protective service caseworkers
• $1.7 million for home and community-based services waivers for 1,000 elderly citizens
• $6.9 million added to annualize the cost of 250 NOW/COMP waiver slots for developmental disabilities added in fiscal year 2015
• $3.2 million for establishment of intensive support coordination services for the NOW/COMP waiver program
• $1.1 million to add 75 additional slots for the NOW/COMP waiver program
• $490,000 for additional supported employment slots for job assistance for developmentally disabled young adults
The governor is still signing bills and has not vetoed anything yet.
Legislation and final action may be accessed online at: www.legis.ga.gov and the State Budget can be accessed online at the Senate Budget and Evaluation Web site: www.senate.ga.gov/sbeo/en-US/Home.aspx
I may be reached at
234 State Capitol, Atlanta, GA 30334
(404) 656-5038 (phone)
(404) 657-7092 (fax)
E-mail at Jack.Hill@senate.ga.gov
Or call toll-free at
1-800-367-3334 day or night
Reidsville office: (912) 557-3811