By WILLIAM K. ALCORN
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
AUSTINTOWN -- William H. Adams, area advocate for the aging and developer and host of a television show for seniors, was selected for the 2001-02 Heinz U.S. Senate Fellowship.
Adams, of 4286 Maureen Drive, will begin his one-year fellowship Tuesday in Washington, D.C., in the office of U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon).
Wyden is a member of the Senate Special Committee on Aging and the Budget Committee, and several other committees.
He and U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) are introducing the Seniors Prescription Insurance Coverage Equity Act, which would provide comprehensive prescription drug coverage for seniors.
Background: Adams is a former long-term care ombudsman at the District XI Area Agency on Aging, was a law clerk for Trumbull County Probate Judge Thomas A. Swift and was a caseworker in the Youngstown office of U.S. Sen. Howard M. Metzenbaum.
Adams graduated from Struthers High School in 1978, received a bachelor of arts degree, majoring in political science, in 1981 from Ohio State University, and earned a law degree in 1985 from the University of Cincinnati College of Law.
During his college years, he edited UC's law school newspaper, The Restatement, broadcast OSU basketball games on the campus radio station WOSR, and completed a summer program in 1980 at Oxford University in England.
Adams was producer and host on the television show "Senior Focus" on Armstrong and Adelphia cable systems in Mahoning County, and is a board member of the Greater Youngstown Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association.
His goals: Adams said he is "pretty naive" about how things work at the federal level but hopes to pursue a couple of issues for the aging that he worked on in Ohio: Increasing personal-needs allowance for nursing home residents on Medicaid; and increasing nursing home staffing and requiring a criminal background check for nursing home employees who perform hands-on care of the elderly.
The monthly personal-needs allowance is meant to provide for items such as clothing, soap, toothbrush, television, etc.
In Ohio, Adams said he successfully lobbied the Ohio Legislature to increase the personal-needs allowance from $30 to $40 and hopes to influence the federal government to also raise its minimum level so states must follow suit. Also, he would like to see the personal-needs allowance tied to the cost of living, as is Social Security.
Nursing homes always say they can't afford more staffing. "My argument is: Have them prove it," he said.