NEWTON– (Thursday, December 11th) Senator Eldridge received the Legislator of the Year award from the Massachusetts Chapter of National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (MassNAELA) at their annual meeting at the Boston Marriot Newton. The Senator was recognized for his support of the PACE bill and for his work on housing and human services issues. Deb Thomson, a Harvard constituent, also received an award commemorating her retirement after 20 years of service as an elder care advocate.
“It was a great honor to receive the Legislator of the Year Award from MassNAELA,” said Jamie Eldridge. “I was proud to be the sponsor of their PACE bill this session to help senior citizens lead more independent lives, and to be recognized for my work on housing and human services for the less fortunate. I was also very proud of Deb Thomson, a friend, constituent, and advocate who I’ve worked closely with on Beacon Hill, upon being honored for her many years of dedicated and steadfast advocacy for the elderly and the disabled.”
“We selected Senator Eldridge as our Legislator of the Year because he has been a passionate supporter of MassNAELA’s legislative efforts,” said MassNAELA President Judith M. Flynn. “His tireless advocacy has helped to protect the rights of seniors and the disabled, and to increase awareness of legal issues affecting these populations. In addition, the inaugural Deborah H. Thomson Advocacy Award was created and bestowed in recognition of Deb’s passionate advocacy of elder issues in state government for the past 20 years.”
Senator Eldridge also presented Ms. Thomson with a Senate Citation for her legislative work on Beacon Hill. This award ceremony was very special to our members because Senator Eldridge and Deb Thomson have a history of collaborative advocacy and mutual respect. The PACE bill is just one example of their joint efforts.
Senate bill 517, An Act to preserve eligibility for PACE program and certain waivered participants, would enable individuals to remain eligible or qualify for the PACE and Home and Community Based (HCB) waiver even if his or her income is over the income limit. This important legislation would allow applicants who are currently denied benefits due to excess income to achieve eligibility through the payment of a deductible. The programs are funded by MassHealth and Medicare, and provide a continuum of care including adult day health services and skilled nursing care.