Thursday, May 26 , 2016, 12:47 pm | A Few Clouds 66º

Area Agency on Aging Advisory Council Supports Medicare Coverage Decision

By Joyce Ellen Lippman for the Central Coast Commission for Senior Citizens |

The Advisory Council of the Central Coast Commission for Senior Citizens, Area Agency on Aging, commends the Health & Human Services Departmental Appeals Board for its decision to change its policy regarding Medicare coverage of transition-related care.

“The Area Agency on Aging Advisory Council learned at its meeting this month about the decision to change Medicare coverage policy regarding transsexual surgery,” said Amy Mallett, chairwoman of the AAA Advisory Council. "The members support the decision of the department Appeals Board made in May 2014, which will make individual coverage decisions based on medical necessity and accepted medical standards of care, just like other services under Medicare.

“Medicare is one of America’s most important health programs, providing health insurance for millions of older adults and persons with disabilities. For many years, Medicare categorically excluded certain medical services for transgender people regardless of medical need. In May 2014, the independent federal appeals board ruled that the policy was unreasonable and contrary to medical science.

“In addition, at their July meeting, the council heard a presentation from Assemblyman (Das) Williams office about the 2014-15 state budget and its impact on older persons. The council was honored to have Mrs. Jeannette Sanchez-Palacios share information. We were pleased to learn that the enacted state budget includes additional funds for the State Department of Social Services Community Care Licensing Division. This division inspects residential care facilities and has been grossly underfunded such that their monitoring plan was once every five years. This action should improve the safety of residents.

“The council is also looking for new members who are interested in issues affecting older adults.”

For additional information, contact Mallett or Joyce Ellen Lippman, AAA executive director, at 805.925.9554 or 800.510.2020.

— Joyce Ellen Lippman is executive director of the Central Coast Commission for Senior Citizens, Area Agency on Aging.

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