The Idaho Legislature during the 2010 session passed a few laws that impact seniors in Idaho starting July 1, 2010.
•Good News: The Idaho Legend Drug Donation Act (Senate Bill 1320a) provides for perfectly good medications no longer needed by patients in nursing homes to have a new life in free clinics. What a great plan.
•Bad News: The Freedom of Conscience for Health Care Professionals (Senate Bill 1353) provided that “No health care professional shall be required to provide any health care service that violates his or her conscience.” There is concern that this new law [Idaho Code Section 18-611] may result in the wishes expressed by a dying person in a “Living Will” may not be honored. What a shame.
•More Bad News: Starting June 1, 2010, Idaho Legal Aid Services (ILAS) will limit access to the Senior Legal Hotline. In the past if you were a senior (age 60 or older) and you needed help with a legal problem, had a question you think a lawyer should answer, or had been sued and didn’t know where to turn, you could call the Senior Legal Hotline. ILAS has lost some of their funding for this service. Over the last 3.5 years, ILAS attorneys assisted over 5900 seniors with legal advice or brief legal services at no charge. There was no income or asset restriction for which seniors could be represented. Effective June 1 this service will be restricted to only low income seniors. Low income is defined as those who have incomes that fall at or below 125% of federal poverty guidelines. This means if you are a single senior (age 60+) and your income is $1128.17 per month or married seniors (age 60+) and whose combined income is $1517.75 per month or less you can access this service. Based on the past experience of ILAS, 60% of the seniors they served will no longer be able to use this resource. Unfortunately, Idaho is one of two states in the nation that does not provide state funding to Idaho Legal Aid Services.