The Appropriations Committees in the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate have approved their spending bills for Fiscal Year 2007 for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education and related agencies (H.R. 5647; S.B. 3708) for FY 2007. Both the House and Senate bills will restore $156 million in funding for family caregivers under the Older Americans Act’s National Family Caregiver Support Program (NFCSP), which is the same as the FY 2006 budget and $2 million above the President’s FY 2007 request.
In addition, the House and Senate have reviewed bills (H.R. 5293; S.B. 3570) to reauthorize the Older Americans Act. In both bills, eligibility criteria for the NFCSP may change, with grandparent caregivers who are 55 years or older now eligible for services. Family caregivers of individuals of any age with Alzheimer’s disease would be eligible under the House bill, while caregivers of people 50 years or older with Alzheimer’s disease would be eligible under the Senate bill.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) have announced a three-year, five-state demonstration program for medical adult day care services for Medicare beneficiaries. The program will provide respite for family caregivers, and beneficiaries will not have any out-of-pocket expenses for the services.
At the state level, the Louisiana Senate is considering a bill (S.B. 754) to create an adult day healthcare benefit as a nonwaiver program under the State’s Medicaid system. The services will be available for individuals age 17 or older who are physically, mentally or socially impaired and need supervision.
The California Budget for fiscal year 2006-07 includes an increase of $3 million for the Multipurpose Senior Services Program (MSSP), which provides social and health care services to frail elders. The Program for All Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) received about $1 million in additional funding, while the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Centers of California received $2 million in increased grants.
As we go to press, the Massachusetts Legislature is in the final stages of passing legislation (S.B. 2535) that would provide 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave (up to $750 per week) to all employees that have been employed for at least nine months and have worked 900 hours.
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