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The new Senior Civic Academy will Equip Senior Activists

Critical services for frail seniors are under threat in Pennsylvania. We're going to see the closure of some of our better nursing homes and long-term care providers if something isn't done to address the decrease in funding for Medicaid.

In a timely response, the GRAN Activist Network: Senior Civic Academy will launch in March. Funded by the Heinz Endowments, the Senior Civic Academy is for community members 55 years and older who want to learn how to become effective activists. The free six-session program will be led by senior activists and policymakers who will provide the skills and tools necessary to create an advocacy campaign specifically targeted to increase Medicaid funding for seniors needing skilled care.

Currently, 60% of frail senior nursing home residents rely on Medicaid funding to cover their cost of care. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has not kept up with increasing financial demand for Medicaid coverage through reimbursements to long-term care facilities or home and community services. In fact, with flat reimbursements and no cost of living increases, skilled nursing facilities are facing deficits and an increasing need to raise benevolent funds to continue to serve seniors. Without action by the Commonwealth to close this funding gap, providers are at increasing risk having to shut their facilities and ceasing to meet the needs of seniors. Families are forced to shoulder an ever increasing financial and caregiving burden. Pennsylvania is in need of more activists who can effectively speak up for these changes.

Karen Wolk Feinstein, Jewish Healthcare Foundation's President and CEO, recently called for legislative action to increase Medicaid funding for vulnerable seniors in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Patriot News. It's time for action.

The Senior Civic Academy is actively recruiting participants for the weekly program launching in March. If you are interested in participating, please email Nancy Zionts at zionts@jhf.org. 

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