House passes Dignity in Aging Act of 2019 with Keller amendment

Washington, D.C. — In a unanimous vote, the United States House of Representatives on Monday passed the bipartisan Dignity in Aging Act of 2019, which is the reauthorization of the Older Americans Act.

The reauthorization bill includes an amendment sponsored by Congressman Fred Keller (R-PA) that would add fall-related traumatic brain injuries to the list of conditions covered under the Older Americans Act’s definition of “disease prevention and health promotion services.”

The amendment was inserted into the Dignity in Aging Act along a bipartisan vote when the bill was considered in the House Education and Labor Committee in September.

“I am happy the House passed the Dignity in Aging Act with my amendment to help care for our seniors,” said Congressman Keller. “While Pennsylvania has been a leader in providing services to seniors suffering from fall-related traumatic brain injuries, the funding opportunities opened up by my amendment will allow for more state-based programs across the country to help prevent and treat fall-related traumatic brain injuries in seniors.”

Keller’s amendment was supported by the National Association of State Head Injury Administrators as well as several state and federal head injury organizations.

BACKGROUND: In 2014, falls were the leading cause of traumatic brain injuries and accounted for almost half of all traumatic brain injury-related emergency department visits. Four in five traumatic brain injury-related emergency department visits in older adults aged 65 years and older were caused by falls, and rates were even higher for individuals 75 and older.

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