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First of all, let me mention that one of AoA's eight goals for
1991 relates to this situation. The goal statement, which is a major
program direction for the agency, identifies the area of Targeting
Strategic Resource Allocation and directs the agency to:
"Develop and implement new strategies for more effectively
targeting resources and programs on the needs of the most
vulnerable older persons, with special emphasis on low
income minority elderly."
I have moved to develop a strong dialogue with the aging network
in developing and implementing these new strategies in order to
insure an effective and cooperative relationship between all members
of the network. One example of this dialogue can be found in the
Roundtable which I convened on July 13, 1989, to consider ways to
increase the participation of older minorities in programs funded
under Title III of the Older Americans Act. Participants in the
Roundtable included representatives of a number of organizations
knowledgeable in the matter of problems relating to targeting.
Excellent suggestions stemming from that dialogue led to our
publishing several Program Instructions in subsequent months, which
we believe have provided a useful framework for the network.
The provision of technical assistance services and oversight
functions at the Administration on Aging are carried out in a number
of ways through our central and regional offices. The issuance of
information memoranda and program instructions is one form of
technical assistance and program oversight. Examples of recent
technical assistance provided to State and Area Agencies include
information memoranda on: A Profile of Older Americans; State
agency cost-sharing experiences with non-Older Americans Act funds,
an Inspector General Report; Preventive Services Covered by
Medicare; a joint AoA/SSA/HCFA public information pamphlet. We
continue, as well, to provide program guidance and oversight through
the issuance of Program Instructions on such subjects as: reiterating
the targeting responsibilities of State and Area Agencies; clarifying
policy requirements concerning the use of funds appropriated for
elder abuse and for the long-term ombudsman program; establishing
policies governing State responsibilities to protect federal reversionary
interests in multipurpose senior centers.
In addition to these written forms of technical assistance and
program guidance, central and regional office staff provide ongoing
technical assistance and oversight to individual State Agencies on
Aging by: responding to requests for assistance, review and approval
of state plans, review and comment on intra-State funding formulas,
resolution of audit findings, and on-site visits within the available
Finally, the Administration on Aging provides significant
discretionary resources to offer technical assistance to State and Area
Agencies on Aging, and Title VI grantees. Funds awarded for
national aging organizations, including those with minority
orientation, resource centers and specific training awards are ways in
which AoA provides technical assistance to the aging network.
On November 21, 1989 AOA issued a Program Instruction
(Number 90-01) calling for increased commitment to target services
to those older individuals who are in greatest economic or social
need, with particular attention to low-income minority older persons
and intra-State formulas. In addition, a follow-up Program
Instruction to State and Area Agencies on Aging was issued in
March, 1990 to remind them of their statutory responsibilities to
assure that Native American elders receive the services to which they
are entitled under Title III of the Older Americans Act.
In that connection, I am pleased to announce the appointment of
Dr. Yvonne Jackson as Associate Commissioner of the Administration
on Aging's Office of American Indians, Alaskan Natives and Native
Hawaiian Programs. As you know, the 1987 Amendments to the
Older Americans Act called for the establishment of this new Office
within the Administration on Aging dedicated to ensure that older
American Indians, Alaskan Natives, and Native Hawaiians receive the
benefits and services to which they are entitled and that these benefits
are provided in a manner which safeguards their dignity and self
respect. Dr. Jackson, who is a member of the Cherokee Nation in
Oklahoma, comes to us with a wealth of experience and knowledge.
Prior to this appointment she was the Chief of the Nutrition and
Dietetics Section, and Acting Chief of the Allied Health Branch of the
Indian Health Service, DHHS.
In recent months the intra-State funding formula, used by State
Agencies on Aging for distributing Title III funds within the State,
has emerged as an increasingly important factor in assuring equitable
availability of funds for services to low-income minority elderly.
A report issued by the General Accounting Office in 1990
(GAO/HRD-90-85) indicated that while 44 out of 45 States with intra
State formulas included one or more economic need factors and
thirty-eight contained a social need factor to direct Title III funds to
minorities -- only seven states had a specific combined factor
targeting to elderly low-income minorities.