Grant Project Title: 
Improving Oral Health for Older Adults through Equitable Federal Policy
Grantee Address: 
Justice in Aging
1444 Eye St. N.W.
Washington, DC
United States
Justice in Aging is a national organization that uses its legal expertise to secure access to affordable health care, economic security, and the courts for older adults with limited resources. Justice in Aging is requesting $90,000 to continue its multi-faceted advocacy toward for a comprehensive, equitable dental benefit in Medicare, in collaboration with other national consumer health advocacy groups. Justice in Aging’s strategy has a three-pronged approach: 1) general/direct federal advocacy, 2) education and 3) capacity building. This year particularly, Justice in Aging sees a viable window of opportunity to advance a Medicare oral health benefit with a new Congress and administration in place. Justice in Aging will work with a myriad of partners including Families USA (and the Medicare Oral Health Coalition Families USA facilitates), Center for Medicare Advocacy, Community Catalyst, and CareQuest Institute, and they have already been working with Laurie Norris to engage with oral health staff at CMS. As a campaign framework, they will use their longtime expertise in the legal elements of Medicare, along with sharing lived experiences of low-income older adults, many of whom experience health inequities due to race income, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender and limited English proficiency (LEP). Beyond these more general Medicare oral health advocacy groups, Justice in Aging will connect with and work closely with the aging and disability network to promote more involvement by this group advocacy efforts related to the benefit. This includes Leadership Council of Aging Organizations, Coalition for Citizens with Disabilities, Chronic Illness and Disability Partnership, and the Diverse Elders Coalition, among others. Next, recognizing the need, Justice in aging will develop educational materials for federal policymakers and state and local partners about Medicare itself, and how adding comprehensive, equitable oral health benefits would contribute to access to care for older adults and people with disabilities. Resources include legal and policy analysis, simplified explanations of complicated Medicare rules, issue briefs, fact sheets, and FAQs. These will be shared to a wide variety of stakeholders in the Justice in Aging network, and would reach a minimum of 50,000 legal services, aging, and disability advocates/professionals. Lastly, Justice in Aging will share and learn with other oral health advocates through OPEN and through our internal learning communities. Not only will they share their own expertise around Medicare, Justice in Aging also anticipates learning from our state-based partners about new advocacy tactics. Justice in Aging is informing the project through their new Strategic Initiative to Advance Equity, which began in 2021. The focus of the initiative is to center their projects and strategies on issues that directly address systemic inequities faced by older adults of color, older women, LGBTQ+ older adults, older adults with disabilities, and older adults who are immigrants or have LEP. This lens will shape their advocacy strategies as part of this grant. In addition, Justice in Aging hopes to build new partnerships with organizations who work with underserved and underrepresented communities in the year to come. Outside of the Medicare benefit advocacy work, Justice in Aging will continue to work toward increased demographic data and reporting by government agencies, health plans, and providers to collect comprehensive and disaggregated data so that they can better understand marginalized populations in Medicare and Medicaid. CareQuest Institute has funded Justice in Aging’s Medicare advocacy work in the amount of $246,188 since 2018. Justice in Aging has been a strong, effective partner in the Medicare space, even before CareQuest Institute funding, and is deeply committed to achieving a Medicare dental benefit. Funding requested in 2021 will be allocated toward staff time, event expenses, communication expenses and indirect costs. This request represents 2% of Justice in Aging’s overall budget.
Grant Date: 
Thursday, July 1, 2021 to Thursday, June 30, 2022
Grant Amount: