The Utah Department of Health will hire a lobbyist on behalf of the elderly and minorities, a state official says.
Gar Elison, policy analyst for the department's Division of Community Health Services, told the Davis County Council on Aging he is concerned that the standard of health for the two groups is below that of other populations. To help reverse that condition, Elison said the state hopes to hire someone to lobby the Health Appropriations Committee during the 1991 Legislature.
Elison said that although the number of seniors and minorities has increased, state appropriations to assist them have not.
Projections for 1990 show that state residents 60 years and older make up 12.5 percent of the state's total population. But by the year 2000, the figure is expected to increase to 13.1 percent.
"By the year 2000, there will be more people age 65 and over than elementary school children in Utah," Elison said.
If lobbying efforts are successful and added funding is available, Elison told the panel Tuesday that his office will add a staff member to provide contact with seniors and minorities.
Joyce Smith, acting director of the Council on Aging, said she supports the idea because it will give local support groups, such as hers, a contact person when dealing with the state.
The state's efforts to allow the elderly to air their concerns is the first of many steps that need to be taken, she said.