State Legislation, Policy & Reports
Ohio: Taking Steps to Allow Older Adults More Independence
During the last month, lawmakers in Ohio have taken steps to expand options that allow older adults with long-term care needs to remain independent and living in the community. First, in July, Ohio expanded Medicaid - which last year began to cover assisted living costs for recipients who decided to move into such facilities - to include residents already living in those facilities. Then, on August 5, 2007, the Dayton Daily News reported that Governor Ted Strickland eliminated the 1,100-person waiting list for the state's Passport program, which provides home care services to seniors 60 and older who are Medicaid eligible, by adding 5,000 slots to the program. Such moves allow low-income seniors and their families more access to the types of long-term care services they prefer. For more information, visit:
Dayton Daily News "Assisted living an alternative to nursing homes"
Dayton Daily News "Expanded Passport program assists seniors, providing independence, dignity"
Federal Legislation, Policy & Reports
Senate Passes FMLA Expansion for Caregivers in Military Families
On August 2, 2007, the Senate passed an amendment to extend the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) for families of wounded servicemembers. The legislation would allow workers to take up to six months of unpaid, job-protected leave - compared to the current allowance of 12 weeks - to care for family members seriously injured in combat. Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT) offered the legislation, originally called the Support for Injured Servicemembers Act (S. 1894), as an amendment to the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) reauthorization bill (H.R. 976). The amendment was not included in the House-passed version of the SCHIP reauthorization bill, so it remains to be seen if this amendment is preserved in the final version of that legislation. For more information, visit:
Alzheimer's Breakthrough Act Passes Senate Committee
On August 3, 2007, Senator Barbara Mikulski's (D-MD) Alzheimer's Breakthrough Act (S. 898) passed in the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee. The bill would double funding for Alzheimer's research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), as well as expand family caregiver services within certain state programs by, among other things, providing caregiver assessments. It would also establish a national, 24 hour-a-day Alzheimer's disease call center to provide expert advice, care consultation, information, and referrals. The Subcommittee on Retirement and Aging, chaired by Sen. Mikulski, has held three comprehensive hearings on the Alzheimer's epidemic since the bill was introduced in March 2007. For more information, visit:
Sweden: Personal Assistance Program
The recent issue of the Journal of Aging and Social Policy (Volume 19, Number 3) includes an article, "Personal Assistance in Sweden" by Ulla Clevnert and Dr. Lennarth Johansson, which provides an overview of the Swedish personal assistance program for people with disabilities. Established in 1994, the program "is intended to make it financially possible for a person with severe disabilities to appoint a personal assistant, on their own or through a provider," to help with daily care. The personal assistant, who can be a family member, is supposed to help create a care plan that is suited to the person's needs and provide assistance with daily living. The program is available for children and adults, however adults over 65 are only allowed this benefit if they were enrolled in the program before they turned 65 years old. The article concludes that "the personal assistance has enhanced the quality of life for people with severe disabilities and their families." For more information, visit:
Journal of Aging and Social Policy
Research Reports & Journal Articles
"Consumer-Directed, Home and Community Services for Adults with Dementia"
The Alzheimer's Association released a public policy issue brief by Dr. Jane Tilly in July 2007 called "Consumer-Directed, Home and Community Services for Adults with Dementia." The brief describes the provisions of consumer-directed, home- and community- based programs that serve older adults with dementia in 11 states, including provisions related to determining whether a participant needs assistance with managing services, meeting family caregiver needs and quality assurance. It also provides policy recommendations for states considering expansion or implementation of consumer-directed programs that serve dementia families. One recommendation is that "states need to evaluate a family caregiver's needs when that caregiver is making it possible for the adult with dementia to remain in the community and then connect the caregiver with available supportive services." For more information, visit:
Article Reveals Trends in States' Medicaid Personal Care Services Programs
An article in the most recent Journal of Aging and Social Policy (Volume 19, Number 3) presents the latest available data on the Medicaid Personal Care Services (PCS) optional benefit. This option allows states to fund nonmedical assistance services for Medicaid recipients, including help with daily living activities provided by family caregivers or direct care workers. The article, "Medicaid State Plan Personal Care Services: Trends in Programs and Policies," by Dr. Martin Kitchener, Terence Ng and Dr. Charlene Harrington, reveals that between 1999 and 2002 the number of states providing the benefit went from 26 to 30 and national program participation increased by 27%. At the same time, program expenditures per person declined, the range of services provided declined and almost half of the programs placed a cap on the hours of service provided. For more information, visit:
Journal of Aging and Social Policy
Conferences & Trainings
NCOA's Advocacy Day September 18
The National Council on Aging (NCOA) is hosting its annual advocacy day in Washington, D.C. on September 18, 2007. The one-day event will feature morning briefings from experts on issues affecting seniors, including appropriations for senior programs, Medicare and long-term care. In the afternoon, participants will fan out across Capitol Hill to visit their members of Congress. Registration is free. For more information, visit:
National Council on Aging
Registration Open: International Conference on Aging, Disability and Independence
The 2008 International Conference on Aging, Disability and Independence will be held February 20-23, 2008 in St. Petersburg, Florida. The conference will focus on approaches to helping adults maintain independence as they age, and it will be divided into eight tracks representing research and development, policy, practice and services, business, and consumer perspectives. Early registration ends November 30, 2007. For more information, visit:
International Conference on Aging, Disability and Independence
Funding, Media & Miscellaneous
FCA's Lynn Friss Feinberg Selected as John Heinz Senate Fellow in Aging
Family Caregiver Alliance's Lynn Friss Feinberg, MSW, has been selected as the 2007-2008 John Heinz Senate Fellow in Aging. She will serve her fellowship working in the Washington, D.C. office of U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA). Ms. Feinberg will take a one-year leave of absence from her position as deputy director of FCA's National Center on Caregiving to learn about and contribute to aging policy as a member of the U.S. Senate staff. The John Heinz Senate Fellowship Program provides an opportunity for mid-career professionals in aging to obtain first-hand experience in the development and advancement of public policy and legislation that will improve the quality of life for older Americans. The John Heinz Senate Fellowship Program is funded by the U.S. Senate and the Teresa and H. John Heinz III Foundation, and administered by the Heinz Family Foundation. For more information, visit:
Heinz Family Philanthropies
New York Times Magazine Examines Family Leave Values
On July 29, 2007, the New York Times Magazine published an article on family leave values. Eyal Press's article, "Do workers have a fundamental right to care for their families? The latest front in the job-discrimination battle," examines the difficulties many workers face today in balancing work and family caregiving responsibilities. The article tells the stories of workers who struggled to get leave time they needed in order to care for ill family members, the lawsuits that resulted in some cases when workers were denied leave, and the efforts by advocates to push for more flexible workplace policies. For more information, visit:
New York Times Magazine
DSW Resource Center Offers State Medicaid Agencies Technical Assistance
State Medicaid agencies are invited to apply for Intensive Technical Assistance in support of home and community-based direct care workforce improvement initiatives through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' National Direct Service Workforce (DSW) Resource Center. Applications for Intensive TA in fiscal year 2008 are due August 31, 2007. States awarded Intensive TA will receive one full year of in-depth TA from a team of experts in the field of direct service workforce policy, recruitment and retention. For more information, visit:
National Direct Service Workforce (DSW) Resource Center
"The Cost of Caring"
Reporter Kendall Anderson wrote a story for the Minnesota Women's Press on August 7, 2007, "The Cost of Caring," which highlights the financial challenges many women caregivers face when they try to balance work and family caregiving responsibilities. It also discusses some of the policy solutions that can help address those hardships, including paid family leave and caregiver tax credits. The article quotes FCA's Policy Specialist Amy Friedrich-Karnik, talking about the challenge for policymakers in determining ways to provide financial support to families for home- and community-based services. For more information, visit:
Minnesota Women's Press
©2007 Family Caregiver Alliance. All rights reserved.
The National Center on Caregiving at Family Caregiver Alliance works to advance the development of high-quality and cost-effective policies and programs for caregivers in every state in the country. The National Center is a central source of information and technical assistance on family caregiving for policymakers, health and service providers, program developers, funders, media and families. For questions or further information about the National Center on Caregiving, contact [email protected] or visit the Family Caregiver Alliance website at www.caregiver.org.
To subscribe or unsubscribe to Caregiving PolicyDigest, use the following link: www.caregiver.org/caregiver/jsp/content_node.jsp?nodeid=836
Or, contact Family Caregiver Alliance using our toll-free phone number: 800/445-8106
Your subscription information is used only for the purpose of improving this service and tailoring it to the needs of its audience. Information provided to us will not be shared with any other organization, agency, corporation, entity or third party.
Caregiving PolicyDigest is a publication of the National Center on Caregiving at Family Caregiver Alliance, 180 Montgomery Street, Suite 1100, San Francisco, CA 94104.