GSA Applauds Bill Passage as Major Step Toward Older Americans Act Reauthorization

For Immediate Release
September 20, 2019

Contact: Todd Kluss
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The Gerontological Society of America (GSA) — the nation’s largest interdisciplinary organization devoted to the field of aging — congratulates the House Committee on Education and Labor on its passage of H.R. 4334, the Dignity in Aging Act of 2019, which would reauthorize the Older Americans Act (OAA). H.R. 4334 is expected to be voted upon by the full House of Representatives in the near future, while the Senate continues to work on its reauthorization bill.

GSA has been a strong advocate for the reauthorization of the OAA, which is essential to developing, coordinating, and delivering home and community-based services that help older adults age with independence in their homes and communities.

“We are pleased to see strong bipartisan support for programs and services that are critical for millions of older adults, their families, and caregivers, and have allowed them to live more active and productive lives,” said GSA CEO James Appleby, BSPharm, MPH, ScD (Hon). “GSA is proud to have been part of the collaborative process in developing language for the new bill and hopes that the House and Senate will move quickly to reauthorize the OAA.”

H.R. 4334 was cosponsored by Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Human Services Chair Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), Ranking Member James Comer (R-KY), and Representatives Elise Stefanik (R-NY), Susie Lee (D-NV), Susan Wild (D-PA), and Dusty Johnson (R-SD).

In addition to reauthorizing the OAA, H.R. 4334 introduces some enhancements. GSA specifically worked with the committee to include language in Section 207 of the bill that will revitalize the OAA’s research, evaluation, and demonstration activities.

GSA further collaborated with several partners — the National Council on Aging, National Association of Area Agencies on Aging, and ADvancing Age — to advocate for the inclusion of increased pilots and demonstration projects that could be developed into scalable, evidence-based programs. This input was based on a publication, “Strengthening the Effectiveness of Services for Older Americans Establishing Research, Demonstration and Evaluation Leadership and Standards for Aging Services under the Older Americans Act,” that GSA previously produced with the National Council on Aging.

As a result, H.R. 4334 directs the assistant secretary for aging to establish a National Research, Demonstration, and Evaluation Center for the aging services network, which would coordinate research, research dissemination, evaluation, demonstration projects, and related activities carried out under the OAA; to provide assessment of the programs authorized under the OAA; and to increase the repository of information on evidence-based programs and interventions available to the aging services network. The committee authorized appropriations of $20 million for each of the fiscal years 2020 through 2024.

“There are many other welcome provisions that GSA supported or helped to create in the new legislation,” Appleby said. “Among them, immunization status screening would now be recognized under the definition of disease prevention and health promotion. Family caregivers would be supported through an extension of the RAISE Family Caregiver Act authorization. And we would see steps taken to prevent and respond to social isolation and loneliness among older adults.”

The OAA currently serves more than 11 million older adults and their caregivers annually, with programs such as home-delivered and congregate nutrition services, in-home supportive services, transportation, caregiver support, disease prevention and health promotion, community service employment, the long-term care ombudsman program, services to prevent the abuse, neglect, and exploitation of older adults, and other supportive services.


The Gerontological Society of America (GSA) is the nation's oldest and largest interdisciplinary organization devoted to research, education, and practice in the field of aging. The principal mission of the Society — and its 5,500+ members — is to advance the study of aging and disseminate information among scientists, decision makers, and the general public. GSA’s structure also includes a policy institute, the National Academy on an Aging Society, and an educational unit, the Academy for Gerontology in Higher Education.