Friday, February 23, 2007

PA's "2020 VISION" Project: Part II

The "2020 Vision" Project, currently underway in the administration of Governor Edward G. Rendell, carries a name that is just a bit misleading. The true meaning of the project relates to perceiving the likely needs of Pennsylvania's population in the target year 2020, so that adequate services can be designed before then to meet those needs. See: PA's "2020 VISION" Project: Part I (EE&F Law Blog, 02/22/07).

But, to most people, the term "
20/20", suggests the quality of one's eyesight as clear and reliable. This is an explanation from HowStuffWorks online:

"If you have 20/20 vision, it means that when you stand 20 feet away from the [eye] chart you can see what the 'normal' human being can see. In other words, if you have 20/20 vision your vision is "normal" -- a majority of people in the population can see what you see at 20 feet."
There are very few "normal" people who can clearly see what the year 2020 will bring, much less how state government could encourage or design policies, services, facilities, finances, and other resources to meet those future needs.

2020 Vision Project began with issuance by the Governor on June 16, 2006, of Executive Order No. 2006-04. It opened with a statement of the problem:

WHEREAS, the generation of Americans born between 1946 and 1964, commonly referred to as the "Baby Boomer" generation, has had a significant impact on social and civic institutions; and

WHEREAS, the "Baby Boomer" generation begins to turn age 60 this year and nears retirement; Pennsylvania currently ranks third in the nation in the percentage of people age 65 and older; and, by the year 2020, one in every four (4) Pennsylvanians will be 60 or older; and

WHEREAS, Pennsylvania also ranks fourth among states in the number of people age 85 and older, a number that is projected to increase by more than 40 percent by 2020, presenting major challenges to the Commonwealth; and

WHEREAS, by 2020, the number of Pennsylvanians age 65 and older will equal the number of children under age 15; the oldest of the "Baby Boomer" generation will be age 74; and

WHEREAS, the Commonwealth is on the leading edge of another historic era that has significant implications for state government over the next decade and a half, requiring all government agencies, commissions, and departments to consider the demands and opportunities that will result from demographic forces; and

WHEREAS, the Governor recently established the Long Term Living Council to lead reform efforts of the Commonwealth's long term living system and to assure the accountability of designated agencies for their assigned powers, duties, and responsibilities in support of this effort; and

WHEREAS, the Pennsylvania Department of Aging was established for the advancement of the well-being of older Pennsylvanians, the coordination of the Commonwealth's programs and promotion of efficient delivery of services to this group, and to encourage their involvement in social, economic, and political affairs, which makes the Department of Aging uniquely positioned to coordinate policy development and planning for the impact of the "Baby Boomer" generation on the institutions of state government.

To face the challenges, the Governor established the Pennsylvania "2020 Vision" Project:

The purpose of this project will be to facilitate the development of a Commonwealth-wide, multi-agency strategic response to the anticipated dramatic growth in the state's older population through the year 2020. All agencies and departments under the Governor's jurisdiction will participate in the planning in response to the approaching challenges and opportunities presented by this demographic change.

These are the objectives of the 2020 Vision Project:

The Pennsylvania 2020 Vision Project shall evaluate the impact that the growth in Pennsylvania's older population is expected to have on the programs and services of state government by identifying strategies for addressing the demands that this growth will place on existing programs, the need for new or expanded programs and services, and the resources that will be necessary to allow state government to address the demand for these programs and services.

The project shall also evaluate the impact of this aging population on the economy, workforce, and tax base and on the social service, health care, and public infrastructure of the Commonwealth. The Secretary of Aging shall head the project.

Long-term plans are commonplace for PennDOT in its planning for transportation facilities. A 14-year plan is unusual for the whole of state government in its planning for human resources. It does appear necessary.

The Pennsylvania Department of Aging was designated to lead and coordinate the effort. The Governor's Executive Order directed other state departments and agencies to participate and cooperate, upon request.

This is how the Department of Aging was directed to function for the 2020 Vision Project:

  • Conduct demographic analyses, as necessary to facilitate discussions and planning for population changes, as part of the Pennsylvania 2020 Vision Project;
  • Convene work group meetings, made up of selected agency representatives and outside organizations and individuals to be named by the Secretary of Aging, to develop work plans and formats for a final Pennsylvania 2020 Vision Project response plan;
  • Coordinate Pennsylvania 2020 Vision Project activities with other agencies under the Governor's jurisdiction;
  • Deliver a final Pennsylvania 2020 Vision Project response plan to the Governor and the Long Term Living Council;
  • Based on this response plan, pursue follow-up activities and disseminate project results, so that agencies under the Governor's jurisdiction can be prepared to effectively respond to coming demographic changes; and
  • Provide such resources as may be necessary to complete the work of the project, including the hiring of outside consultants and staff.

The original Executive Order, dated June 16, 2006, is found within a Press Release, dated June 22, 2006, entitled "Governor Rendell Directs State to Prepare to Serve Larger Population of Older Adults".

amended Executive Order, dated December 30, 2006, extended the original order beyond its original expiration of December 31, 2006. The Amended Executive Order, and the "2020 Vision" Project, both will expire on June 30, 2007.

The website of the Pennsylvania Department of Aging maintains a series of pages regarding the "2020 Vision" Project. I reproduce the current links below:

PA 2020 Vision Project

What is PA 2020? To find out more, click here to view the Lifestate Matrix 2020 Vision Presentation.

Click on a link below to access the PA 2020 Vision Project Manual or Agency Template:

2020 Trends and Projections in Pennsylvania and Nationwide:

The Presentation offers an excellent overview of the "2020 Vision" Project, by paid consultants. The key points are outlined in crisp text, with many clever graphics & photos (a few are even provacative), and some colorful, fancy charts plotting statistics.

I must warn you that the link for the "Lifestate Matrix 2020 Vision Presentation" will lead you to a 36 MB PowerPoint file.

I would not try downloading that sized file at home on a 56K telephone modem. You might not be done until 2020, when the presentation already would be moot.

The "2020 Vision" Project Report should be issued sometime after June 30, 2007. Likely its findings will influence much state policy and legislation over the next ten years.

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