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Opening

Americans

family in diseases such as Alzheimer's that we don't destroy that family by taking all their_assets before we will help that family either at a state level or a Federal level; and to date, as far as I can tell, we don't have that, and I think that is a big problem. The catastrophic problems such as that when you have to tell someone who has been married for 40, 50 years that the only way they can preserve any assets between that family is to get a divorce when there is an Alzheimer's patient in there is not in the best interests of this society and mine. You and I hope someday we can find that solution. Thank you. Thank you.

Chairman ROYBAL. Thank you. The Chair now recognizes Ms. Morella.

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STATEMENT OF REPRESENTATIVE CONSTANCE A. MORELLA Ms. MORELLA. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I appreciate your calling for this meeting, Chairman Roybal, and I appreciate the chairman of the Subcommittee on Human Resources of the Committee on Education and Labor, Chairman Martinez, for calling for it. I think it is very important.

Dr. Berry, it is always great to have you before us as an expert, and we appreciate your commitment to the aging. Mr. Chairman, may I ask unanimous consent that my opening statement be put into the record?

Chairman ROYBAL. Without objection, it will be ordered. [The prepared statement of Ms. Morella follows:

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Opening Statement, Joint Hearing on the Reauthorization of the Older

Americans Act

April 25, 1991

The Honorable Constance A. Morella

Mr. Chairman, I want to thank you and the Chairman of the

Subcommittee on Human Resources of the Committee on Education and

Labor, Mr. Martinez, for convening this morning's hearing on the crucial

subject of the future of the Older Americans Act.

As we prepare to

reauthorize what is truly a landmark piece of legislation, it is fitting that we

pause to examine ways in which we can build upon the Act's accomplishments

and strengthen its services for millions of older Americans.

Several issues are of special interest to me as we discuss possible

revisions in the Older Americans Act. In particular, I am pleased to see that

our committees will be focusing on the scope of minority participation in

services offered by the Act. It is believed that minority participation suffered

a significant decrease in the mid 1980s, although it has apparently taken an upturn in recent years. It is vital that we in the Congress examine the reasons

for which this reduction occurred, and adjust the Act so as to insure that

minority seniors continue to be served according to their needs. With this in

mind, we need to review and possibly refine minority targeting programs under

the Act so that African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, Native Americans,

and other receive the OAA benefits to which they are entitled.

The issue of minority participation is closely linked to the problem of Ms. lo bee öllowir

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Finally, the idea of cost-sharing is one which has received a great deal of attention in recent months, and one which will certainly be discussed by our witnesses this morning. It is my belief that any proposals in this area must respect the fundamental and critical goal of the Act that of providing vital nutritional, vocational, and other assistance for any older American who needs

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On this and a variety of issues, I look forward to hearing the views of our

distinguished guests, Mr. Flemming, Dr. Berry, Mr. Kusserow, Mr. York, and

Mr. Bechill. Your input is very valuable as we tackle the reauthorization of the

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Older Americans Act, and I thank both distinguished Chairmen for providing

us with the opportunity to discuss the Act with you this morning.

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Ms. MORELLA. And just to ask you a couple of questions: I have also been perusing the testimonies of people who are going to be following you, Dr. Berry, knowing that I only had one shot at you, and looking at, let us say, the GAO report, it states that minority participation in Older Americans Act programs and services cannot be measured adequately at this time [it is on page six] and that some states have developed computerized client-tracking systems that potentially will allow them to measure minority participation.

Then it goes on to say, however, that we cannot really use these state systems to tell us how effective it is because AoA has not developed any standards that would be needed for data input to these computer systems. I wondered if you could tell us whether this is in the process. I don't even know which states have developed these client-tracking systems.

Ms. BERRY. Yes. We are very concerned about the data collection issue.

Ms. MORELLA. I would be interested in that also, but are you moving ahead or what can you do? Can we help you in some way?

Ms. BERRY. Yes. The whole matter of State reporting and data collection is an important issue that the Administration on Aging has struggled with for a number of years. We have invested a significant amount of resources in trying to obtain adequate data.

I have established a task force of State directors on aging who will be meeting with me in June, directors from the States of Arizona, Florida, Missouri, Nevada, New York, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Washington, and Maryland, to talk with me about some of the issues that relate to getting good data.

There is diversity across the country with regard to the efficacy of the systems that are in place. I also asked the State directors to share with me some of the problems that they are experiencing, they have done that, and I have a compiled report. Some of the problems relate to technology. Some of the problems relate to duplication in terms of counting persons. I believe that we have to develop a process for collecting core statistics, so that we can collect this information as part of the State program report.

I think the State program report needs modification. As I mentioned in my opening statement, I believe we should pay attention to the people who are most closely involved in serving older people. They have told us that some of our categories in the data collection taxonomy need work. It is my intent to try to address this problem that you so eloquently identified.

Ms. MORELLA. That is good. Those states that you mentioned that will be represented with you in June; are those the states that do have that client-tracking system established? Is that why they were chosen?

Ms. BERRY. Some of them do. Others have come to us through the National Association of State Units on Aging and have expressed an interest in trying to help us clean up the problem.

Ms. MORELLA. Okay. Good. Thank you. I am pleased that you are moving ahead on that, and then, again, we seem to be looking at an area where more needs to be done on demographics.

It seems as though a recent survey of State Units on Aging found that the most commonly cited technical assistance requirement

data collection. Without an accurate accounting of who is being served under

the Act, it is extremely difficult to fashion effective improvements in the law.

Of course, there are significant logistical difficulties involved in mass data

collection, and Congress must do whatever it can to assist the Administration

on Aging in the performance of this crucial function. I look forward to hearing

Dr. Berry's suggestions in this regard.

Finally, the idea of cost-sharing is one which has received a great deal

of attention in recent months, and one which will certainly be discussed by our

witnesses this morning. It is my belief that any proposals in this area must

respect the fundamental and critical goal of the Act

that of providing vital

nutritional, vocational, and other assistance for any older American who needs

them. If cost-sharing significantly compromises the quality and breadth of

services available under the Older Americans Act, its implementation could be

a disservice to our nation's elderly.

On this and a variety of issues, I look forward to hearing the views of our

distinguished guests, Mr. Flemming, Dr. Berry, Mr. Kusserow, Mr. York, and

Mr. Bechill. Your input is very valuable as we tackle the reauthorization of the

Older Americans Act, and I thank both distinguished Chairmen for providing

us with the opportunity to discuss the Act with you this morning.

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