The Oklahoma Aging Partnership (OAP), a nonpartisan coalition of organizations dealing with aging issues, has released its annual report. The organization includes the Oklahoma Alliance on Aging, the Oklahoma Silver Haired Legislature Alumni Association, AARP Oklahoma and the Oklahoma State Council on Aging. State Sen. Kim David is among those lawmakers who helped win passage for bills OAP identified as important to Oklahoma seniors.
Each session, OAP seeks support for legislation that will enhance the health, safety, and independence of older Oklahomans. Agenda bills signed into law from the 2014 session include a measure ensuring hospital patients can designate a caregiver. That person will be notified by the hospital before release and given follow-up care instructions aimed at preventing avoidable and costly readmissions.
“The Oklahoma Health Care Authority reported that in the 2013 budget year, they spent almost $63 million for hospital readmissions for Medicaid patients within a month of being released. Helping designated caregivers to understand what kind of medications and other follow-up care are needed can save taxpayer dollars and keep older Oklahomans healthier and more independent,” said David, R-Wagoner.
The U.S. Census Bureau has projected that the nation’s 65-and-older population is will nearly double in size by the year 2050 compared to the 2012 level. David said that demographic shift will require state government to develop public policy that will better address the growing population of older citizens.
“I think the OAP and their member organizations have done a good job of identifying ways to address the challenges resulting from this demographic shift—issues like the increasing number of individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, as well as the greater vulnerability of those requiring long-term residential care,” David said. “I’m appreciative of those efforts, and I’m proud to support measures that will protect and enhance the quality of life for our older citizens.”