The public or legislative response to issues concerning health care and social policy for the elderly is based on identified needs, values, beliefs and expectations. Understanding and influencing the policy process, through educating our legislators and keeping abreast of major trends, gaps in service, and current developments in research and care is part of the overarching mission of the New Jersey Institute for Successful Aging.
Public policy is the driving force behind funding for Medicare and Medicaid, clinical services, education, and research. Advocating for better quality of care and better quality of life for all older individuals on both local and national levels is critical if we are to improve our health care delivery system and the skills of those who provide care. It is through public policy initiatives that we can change systems, conduct research to test the effectiveness of current interventions, explore new approaches and respond to ever-changing needs.
The NJISA, in assuming an active role in advocacy, will impact policy decisions as they affect older individuals and the health care and social systems that serve them. Advocacy efforts include regular contact with key legislators, both in New Jersey and Washington, DC, broad visibility and provision of accurate and timely information on major issues that impact the elderly. The advocacy role is critical in securing state and federal funding to support an array of clinical services, education and training, and research in aging.
A large part of the advocacy role also includes participation on community, state and national boards and committees. Influencing the policy process at these levels and serving as an advocate for those who cannot be there to speak for themselves is a critical role of the NJISA. It is through advocacy that we can significantly influence public policy and the policy process, ensuring better quality of life and quality of care for our elderly.