Well into the forseeable future, caregiving for frail elders and persons with disabilities will be a major part of the American family experience. FCA is releasing the proceedings from its October 2001 national policy conference to present many of the ideas and issues advanced at the forum to sustain family and informal caregivers, the backbone of long-term care in the United States.
Who Will Provide Care? Emerging Issues for State Policymakers, the second invitational policy conference on caregiving convened in San Francisco on October 26-27, 2001 by FCA, engaged state policymakers and advocates. By bringing together fresh perspectives, emerging issues and innovative solutions, the conference, with generous support from The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, explored options for state action on long-term care and caregiving. Conference sessions centered on policy briefs that were commissioned specifically for the conference.
The conference brought to-gether state legislators and staff; executive branch leaders in state departments of aging, health, human services, social services or mental health; and leaders in aging, disability rights and long-term care from 38 states and the District of Columbia.
The conference began with opening remarks by Kathleen A. Kelly, FCA’s Executive Director, and Karen Davenport, Program Officer from The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. In the opening plenary session moderated by Senator Deborah Ortiz (California), John Rother, Director of Legislation and Public Policy, AARP, provided his views on current policies and emerging trends in long-term care and the impact on family caregivers.
Judith Feder, Ph.D., Professor and Dean of Policy Studies at Georgetown University, followed with a presentation on policy options for financing the long-term care system.
The afternoon focused on three breakout sessions: “Long-Term Care Workforce Shortages: Impact on Families” with Robyn Stone, Dr.PH., Executive Director, Institute for the Future of Aging Services, American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging; Mary Ann Wilner, Ph.D., Director of Health Policy, The Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute; and Senator Mark C. Montigny (Massachusetts); “Respite Care: State Policy Trends and Model Programs,” with Mina Silberberg, Ph.D., Senior Policy Analyst, Center for State Health Policy, Rutgers University; Senator Dennis M. Byars (Nebraska); and Margaret Wallhagen, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Physiological Nursing, University of California, San Francisco and FCA Board member; and “Family Caregivers and the Workplace: The Role of Public Policy,” with Donna Wagner, Ph.D., Director, Gerontology Program, Towson State University; Assemblywoman Rebecca Cohn (California); and Gail Hunt, Executive Director, National Alliance
The second half-day of the conference began with two breakout sessions.“Olmstead Decision: Implications for Family Caregivers,” with Sara Rosenbaum, J.D., Harold and Jane Hirsh Professor, Healthcare and Policy, George Washington University; Representative Lana Ladd Baker (Missouri); and Cathy Ficker Terrill, Vice President, Brain Injury Association; and “Paying Families to Provide Care: Has the Time Come?” with Larry Polivka, Ph.D., Director, Florida Policy Exchange Center on Aging, University of South Florida; Pam Doty, Ph.D., Senior Policy Analyst, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; and Robert Mollica, Ed.D., Deputy Director, National Academy for State Health Policy.
The closing session on “Legislative Success Stories” involved a panel of state legislators who shared their victories and challenges in shaping legislation to support family caregivers. The legislative panel, moderated by former Assemblyman Bruce Bronzan (California), included Senator Dennis M. Byars (Nebraska), Representative Carolyn Edmonds (Washington), and Senator Paula Colodny Hollinger (Maryland).
Representative Edmonds concluded her remarks with a challenge: “To those of you in the audience who work for agencies or advocacy groups, my charge to you is to go back, armed with all this wonderful data and those wonderful examples of state legislation that works and start talking with your legislators about doing something for your family caregivers. And for the legislators in the room, I charge you to go home and make some magic.”
For more information about this policy conference, contact Lynn Friss Feinberg at [email protected]. The Proceedings are available for $30 from FCA, 180 Montgomery St., Ste. 1100, San Fran-cisco, CA 94104. Policy Briefs are available on the FCA website at www.caregiver.org.