On April 21, the Iowa Senate voted to do more to help seniors and children. State Senator Herman Quirmbach of Ames helped approve key changes to House File 2463, the Health and Human Services Budget.

"A core Iowa value is taking care of those who can’t take care of themselves," said Senator Quirmbach. "I voted today to improve the safety and quality of life for Iowa seniors and for the children who look to us for help."

Quirmbach said he was especially proud of the vote to step up the fight against the abuse of elderly Iowans.

"This legislation will reverse Gov. Branstad’s veto last year, which stopped the hiring of two ombudsmen to protect the rights of seniors in nursing facilities," said Quirmbach. "It also provides state funding for local elder abuse support services for the first time. In addition, it will be easier for seniors to get the home-based services needed to stay in their homes."

"Every Iowan will benefit from the boost to emergency medical services (EMS) providers," said Quirmbach. "There will be additional money for emergency medical services (EMS) training and the 10 percent increase in Medicaid EMS reimbursement rates."

Quirmbach also said the legislation will help children and at risk Iowans in the following ways:

1) It expands child care assistance to more parents who are working part-time, while getting professional training or continuing education.

2) It improves the lives of children and adults by increasing at-home access to specialized health and support services.

3) It reestablishes a State Training School at Toledo to repair the hole in Iowa’s safety net for our most troubled young girls in the legal system.

4) It protects Iowa’s redesigned mental health services by fully funding state commitments and delaying the "Medicaid clawback."

The changes made by the Senate mean the legislation will return to the Iowa House for its consideration.