Two hundred people attended our Eleventh Annual Statewide Conference on November 2. Executive Director Bill Flynn led off with a keynote address about the Senior Agenda's victories won through community organizing, and about our goals for 2019. The first plenary session was a panel discussion on Elder Abuse with experts on the subject. George Neubauer, a board member of the Senior Agenda, moderated a discussion that focused on the current systems in place and how they could be improved. The second plenary session was a "town hall meeting" for the purpose of setting our 2019 agenda through the sharing of stories about the challenges of aging in the community. Twenty-five exhibitors showcased a varied array of services and products which could improve seniors' quality of life.
We are grateful to our conference sponsors, as follows: Presenting Sponsor, Neighborhood Health Plan of RI, Gold Sponsor, Blue Cross Blue Shield of RI, and Bronze Sponsors BankRI, MetLife Auto & Home, and United Healthcare.
Thanks to our community efforts and the efforts of many people and groups, especially our senior centers, the Fiscal Year 2019 state budget responded to our top three priorities:
We also achieved passage of our top non-budget priority- enabling legislation for an Individual Provider (IP) program that would allow persons eligible for Medicaid-funded homecare to hire their own personal care workers via a registry maintained by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). This was a major victory, taking the first step toward achieving a program that has made a huge difference in “rebalancing” long-term care in many other states (Blazejewski and Goodwin, sponsors).
We are very grateful to Governor Gina Raimondo, and especially to Senate President Dominick Ruggerio and Speaker of the House Nicholas Mattiello for fulfilling their commitments made at our March Legislative Leaders Forum.