The House has approved legislation that would allow more of Georgia's elderly to reside in assisted-living facilities, rather than nursing homes.
Lawmakers OK'd the bill by a vote of 172-1 on Tuesday.
It would let assisted living centers provide more services. Under current law, residents of the facilities can be funneled into nursing homes if they are unable to take their own medications or are immobile.
State Rep. Ann Purcell, a Rincon Republican, said the change — sought for some 16 years — would cut elderly care costs by about 50 percent and give seniors more autonomy.
Rep. Sharon Cooper chairs the Health and Human Services committee. She says the bill helps Georgia prepare for the future.
“We have 10,000 baby boomers going on Social Security every day," she said on the floor of the House. "Ten thousand, across this country. And they will do that for the next 19 years. And this truly does give seniors who want to be independent as long as possible another opportunity to stay that way.”
The bill would set up procedures for licensing this new form of long-term care provider. A House committee made some administrative changes to the bill so it will head back to the Senate where it's expected to pass again easily.
It will then head to Gov. Nathan Deal for his signature.
Contributors: Jeanne Bonner