Governor Davis signed into law on July 26 California's state budget for 2001-2002. This $103.3 billion budget reflects slowing tax revenues and a softening of the state's economy. The state General Fund expenditure was reduced by 1.7% overall.
Unfortunately, cuts affecting older persons and their family caregivers were made to the Caregiver Resource Centers (CRCs) - including FCA. Additional budget reductions affected MSSP, Linkages, Adult Day Care Start-Up Grants and other vital aging, health and mental health programs throughout the state. The statewide CRC system lost $500,000 for the current fiscal year. The 11 Centers serve caregivers in all counties of California.
To provide Californians with an overview of the new budget, the Legislative Analyst's Office has issued a report entitled "Major Features of the 2001 California Budget." You can view this report on the web at: http://www.lao.ca. gov/2001/bud_features/072701_bdgt_features.pdf
California Bills to Watch
SB 1041, introduced by Senator Speier (D-San Francisco/San Mateo) has been passed as amended by the Senate. The bill requires that "within 24 hours of the arrival in the emergency department of a general acute care hospital of a patient who is unconscious or otherwise in-capable of communication, the hospital shall make reasonable efforts to contact the patient's agent, surrogate, or a family member."
SB 639, introduced by Senator Ortiz (D-Sacramento) and passed as amended by the Senate, would provide funding for the development of a strategic plan for improving access to mental health services for people with Alzheimer's disease or related dementia.
AB 1451 as amended, introduced by Assemblywoman Liu (D-Pasadena), was sent to the Governor for his signature at the beginning of August. If the bill is signed a Long-term Care Financing Task Force would be established. The Task Force would report to the Legislature by September 1, 2002, on alternatives to long-term care insurance for individuals to finance long-term care.
To find out more about California bills via the Internet, go to www.leginfo.ca.gov/bilinfo.html. To find out which bills the Governor has signed and which he has vetoed, go to http://www.ss.ca.gov/executive/new_bills_chap.htm.
Federal Bills to Watch
HR 2287, "To amend the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993." Currently the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) covers only those caring for sick children, spouses and parents. This bill would expand coverage so that individuals caring for seriously ill domestic partners, parents-in-law, adult children, siblings, or grandparents would be covered.
HR 602 "Genetic Nondiscrimination in Health Insurance and Employment Act." Although some states, such as California, have laws in effect to protect individuals from discrimination based on genetic information, there are still states that do not afford this protection to their residents. A federal bill would protect everyone.
SB 775, introduced by Senator Blanche Lincoln, (D - Arkansas), "Geriatric Care Act." This bill would "amend Title XVIII of the Social Security Act to permit expansion of medical residency training programs in geriatric medicine and to provide for reimbursement of care coordination and assessment services provided under the Medicare program."
To find out more about Federal bills via the Internet, go to http://thomas.loc.gov/home/thomas.html.
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