Haslam Opposes Separate State Department of Aging

Excerpt from Mike Morrow’s story on Gov. Bill Haslam’s summit on aging, most of which is devoted to gubernatorial musing about health care at the national level.
State Sen. Lowe Finney, D-Jackson, one of the participants in the summit, believes issues facing senior citizens warrant creating a new state Department of Aging.
Finney, chairman of the Senate Democratic Caucus, has proposed legislation that would create such a department, although it has not gotten past the studying stage in the Legislature. Similar efforts to create an aging department preceded him.
“I believe when you look at the various constituencies who have a direct contact with the governor, one of the largest, fastest-growing sectors is the senior citizens population,” Finney said. “They do not have that direct contact with the governor by being the head of a department or a commissioner. … It just seems to me only fair that whenever you have that largest, fastest-growing group of people that they need to be included in that vision-making process.”
Haslam, however, said he does not see the need for a Department of Aging.
“We have 22 departments in Tennessee. That’s a lot,” Haslam said. “It would be easy to keep adding departments. My own view is we can take care of it out of the current structure.”
Finney sees good intentions coming from the Haslam administration.
“I think the governor is honestly trying to figure out where we are in terms of how we deliver services, and I hope once he has all the information he’ll feel comfortable going in that direction to have a department,” Finney said.

Leave a Reply