MCOA Membership:

I am befuddled. We are half way thru the period where Senators can sign on as co-sponsors to our Amendments and since Friday, we have added only a couple more names to our lists (see below). To be taken seriously we will need at least 21 co-sponsors, preferably more. Since our request for FY20 was mailed last January, I have visited 31 Senators on Beacon Hill. This week I have personally contacted all 40 senators by email, as has our Communication Manager Lynn Wolf. So I can only surmise that they need to hear from their local constituents to pay serious attention to these requests. That means you guys- You need to call and make the case. And we need to overwhelm them with local requests from you, your board, your staff and your consumers.

Call or Email. Please commit to 3-5 contacts per town by Friday.

  1. SIG: If we don’t get 15 more names it is doubtful that the Senate will fully fund the Service Incentive Grant Program which may lead to another year of reduced funding (28% reduction to the Service Incentive Grant Program- SIG) And given that we are two fiscal years away from the 2020 U.S. Census kicking in (FY22), this structural deficit will be extremely costly. In the House 96 members of 160 total (60%) signed on- With your concerted help we can achieve that in the Senate.
  2. EMHOT: If we don’t get 15 more names to support mental health, expansion of this valuable program is dead for now; because the House, despite having 77 out of 160 co-sponsors, did not include the requested additional allocation in their FY20 proposal. Senate inclusion of this increase will keep the potential of the additional allocation alive and lead to the Conference Committee review.

Senator contact information:

Amendment language with current Co-Sponsors as of 8pm May 14th 

  1. EHS 655 Grants to Councils on Aging: Only 8 Co-Sponsors to fully fund SIG/ restore the FY18 9c cut of $484,875

Ms. Rausch, Ms. Jehlen, Messrs. Brady, Moore and Welch, Ms. DiZoglio, Messrs. Finegold and Feeney moved that the proposed new text be amended in section 2, in item 9110-9002, by striking out the figure “$16,740,125” and inserting in place thereof the figure:- “$17,225,000”.

  1. EHS 578 Mental Health for Older Adults: Only 6 Co-Sponsors for additional funding of $300,000 for more EMHOTs

Mr. Cyr, Ms. Jehlen, Messrs. Eldridge and Welch, Ms. DiZoglio and Mr. Feeney moved that the proposed new text be amended in section 2, in item 9110-1640, by striking out the figure “$500,000″ and inserting in place thereof the following figure:- “$800,000”.

Thank you for your attention to this matter
David P. Stevens, Executive Director, Massachusetts Councils on Aging

Background SIG Funding

Line Item 9110-9002 is comprised of two parts: The Formula Grant (FG) and the Service Incentive Grant (SIG). At $12/elder the total needed for the FG is $15,453,216. That includes a minimum of $6000 for smaller COAs. The SIG grant portion traditionally have been 10% above the FG figure or in this case $1,545,322 for a total of $16,998,538 or $17m. The Senate Ways and Means has already included $225,000 within this line item so the final requested allocation is $17,225,000. If additional earmarks are added please make sure the language is accompanied by the requisite allocation.

The original source of the short funding can be traced to the FY18 “9c cut” of this line item of 3% and was never restored. In FY18 the Secretary actually lowered the FG allocation to $9.70/elder and level funded the SIG contracts.  That year the EOEA Secretary approved SIG funding for local transportation and outreach projects; statewide licenses for Benefits Checkup and Aging Mastery Programs; job fair, housing, and benefits counseling programs; diversity training, retirement planning, and caregiver support; training and technical assistance for COA staff and board; systems inventory; support for age and dementia friendly initiatives; a grant writer who brings into the COA network 15x her salary; and oversight of the elder mental health demonstration projects.  These grants for the most part are competitive demonstration grants that promote regionalization and innovation.

In FY19 the SIG grants were cut by 28% to make the $12/elder Formula Grant a reality as specified by the Legislature. The grants detailed above were all cut.

FY20: The language in SWM budget underfunds the line item #9110-9002 by $484,875. If this shortfall stands then the SIG would be reduced 28% again in FY20. We need $17,225,000 which includes earmarks already proffered by SWM.

 Background Elder Mental Health

Restored Line Item  9110-1640 (previously an earmark) states “For the geriatric mental health program, including outreach, counseling, resource management and system navigation for community-dwelling elders with mental health needs ……………………………………………………… $500,000”

We request an additional $300,000 for a total of $800,000 to establish 2-3 more projects through a competitive grant process. More details on the existing five projects: EMHOT Fact Sheet

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Massachusetts Councils
on Aging

116 Pleasant Street, Suite 306
Easthampton, MA 01027
Telephone: 413-527-6425
Fax: 413-527-7138