AGS raises serious concerns on cuts to geriatrics in 2018 budget proposal

May 24, 2017

The American Geriatrics Society (AGS) voiced deep concern for proposed cuts to geriatrics health professions programs (which would be eliminated), healthcare research, Medicaid, and a range of services benefitting us all as we age--all cuts outlined by President Trump in his full budget proposal for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018, which begins on October 1, 2017.

Released today in follow-up to the President's "skinny budget" blueprint, which also saw serious opposition from the AGS and geriatrics leaders when unveiled earlier this year, today's more extensive budget recommendation poses serious challenges for older adult well-being: The budget does sustain support for many programs under the Older American Act (OAA) and administered through the Administration for Community Living (ACL).[ii] Level-funding for Home and Community-based Supportive Services, for example, would continue to support multi-purpose senior centers and a broad array of services for aging in place. The budget also sustains several other key programs, including some targeting nutrition services, family caregivers, those living with Alzheimer's disease, and those working to prevent elder abuse and neglect. While we were pleased to see continued support for programs serving older adults, we are disappointed to see major cuts to a number of programs that serve Americans with disabilities.

Though these serious concerns pose significant barriers to AGS supporting the proposed budget, the AGS was pleased to see recognition for the importance of the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) in the latest budget proposal. As presently written, the budget requests $78.9 billion in discretionary funding for the VHA--a $4.4 billion increase from 2017, which would sustain the Veterans Choice Program and provide discretionary funding to improve care access and efficiency for more than nine million American veterans.

"We remain committed to working with Congress and the Trump Administration on a budget that supports older Americans, veterans, and their families," added Lundebjerg. "Any budget must ensure that we have adequately prepared the healthcare workforce to care for them."
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About the American Geriatrics Society

Founded in 1942, the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) is a nationwide, not-for-profit society of geriatrics healthcare professionals that has--for 75 years--worked to improve the health, independence, and quality of life of older people. Its nearly 6,000 members include geriatricians, geriatric nurses, social workers, family practitioners, physician assistants, pharmacists, and internists. The Society provides leadership to healthcare professionals, policymakers, and the public by implementing and advocating for programs in patient care, research, professional and public education, and public policy. For more information, visit AmericanGeriatrics.org.

[i] With the exception of the VHA numbers, increases/decreases in the President's FY 2018 budget refer to numbers in the FY 2017 annualized Continuing Resolution (CR) rather than the final omnibus bill, in which some programs received more funding than in the CR, (e.g. NIH).

[ii] Under the omnibus, the following programs saw a slight increase for the remainder of this budget year (FY 2017):

Home and Community-based Supportive Services - $2.5 million increase
Nutrition Programs - $3 million increase
Elder Justice Initiative - $2 million increase

American Geriatrics Society

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