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HomePoliticsHouse unanimously approves adult care home bill

House unanimously approves adult care home bill

AARP Calls on Senate to Create Needed Housing Option to give Tennesseans Choice

aarpNASHVILLE – The Tennessee House of Representatives unanimously passed legislation Thursday that authorizes adult care homes, creating a new and needed housing option for Tennesseans who receive long-term care services. AARP encourages the Tennessee Senate to quickly approve the bill, sending it to Gov. Phil Bredesen for his signature. The legislation is part of the governor’s 2009 legislative package.

House Speaker Kent Williams, House Speaker Pro Tempore Lois DeBerry and Rep. Dennis Ferguson, who chairs the Legislature’s Long-Term Care Committee, all spoke in favor of the Adult Care Homes Act, which was approved 94-0 and now has more than 50 House co-sponsors. The three legislative leaders were among a group of lawmakers, state officials and other long-term care advocates who toured similar adult care foster homes in Oregon last year.

AARP Tennessee Advocacy Director Patrick Willard, who participated in that visit, said the homes are hugely popular in Oregon because they allow people to live like families in small residential settings that blend in with other houses.

“Tennesseans want to age with dignity in the neighborhoods and communities they love, even when they can’t stay home by themselves,” Willard said. “This is just the beginning of new choices for home and community-based care in Tennessee. We expect expansion of the adult care home option and other initiatives in the next legislative session.”

The bill originally would have allowed caregivers to operate adult care homes for anyone who receives long-term care services, but lawmakers agreed to a compromise that limits the new option to ventilator-dependent and brain-damaged Tennesseans. Ferguson and other lawmakers vowed to take up legislation next year that would allow people who need less care to live in adult care homes.

A recent AARP report found Tennessee nursing homes are larger than the national average and growing. The report, “Quality Care and Litigation in Tennessee Nursing Homes” recommended the state promote the construction of smaller alternatives to improve quality in long-term care. The Adult Care Home legislation comes at a critical time as the state prepares to roll out the Long-Term Care Community Choices Act, which will redistribute TennCare funding toward more home and community-based services.

About The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP)

With more than 714,000 members in Tennessee, AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization that helps people 50+ have independence, choice and control in ways that are beneficial and affordable to them and society as a whole. We produce AARP The Magazine, published bimonthly; AARP Bulletin, our monthly newspaper; AARP Segunda Juventud, our bimonthly magazine in Spanish and English; NRTA Live & Learn, our quarterly newsletter for 50+ educators; and our website, AARP.org. AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. We have staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

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