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Rhode Island Rocks!

Kathy Kelly, Executive DirectorFamily Caregiver Alliance There were three exciting developments for family caregivers in Rhode Island this month: First, Rhode Island became the third state in the country (joining California and New Jersey), to pass legislation on paid family leave.  The bill, now law, entitled Temporary Caregiver Insurance, ensures that workers can take up to four weeks of leave at two-thirds of their regular wages to care for a sick family member or bond with a new child.  It also sets a new standard of job protections by guaranteeing all workers job security if the need arises to take leave in order to care for family members. Funding is self-funded through employee contributions.

Next, The Family Caregiver Support Act of 2013 was signed into law and requires a caregiver assessment if the plan of care for a Medicaid recipient involves a family caregiver.  A plan of care is to be developed which takes into account the needs of the caregiver and the recipient.

And the third bill, the Parent Deinstitutionalization Subsidy Aid Program, expands who is eligible to provide care to include siblings and other appropriate relatives―a relief to aging parents who may have health or financial difficulties and are unable to continue as primary caregivers.

As noted in a blog recap of the Rhode Island legislation, also signed into law were measures promoting “aging in place,” and the Palliative Care and Quality of Life Act. Beginning in 2015, every health care facility must establish a system for identifying patients or residents who would benefit from palliative care and provide information and assistance to access such care. Family Caregiver Alliance applauds the efforts of the Rhode Island senators and representatives who sponsored these bills, as well as Governor Lincoln Chafee, the Rhode Island General Assembly and all the organizations and advocates who so elegantly represented the needs of family caregivers. Congratulations Rhode Island! – KK