Family Caregiver Alliance's Policy Digest

Policy Digest Newsletter
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March 21, 2012

Volume XII, Number 6


I nthis issue section head


State Legislation, Policy & Reports 

  1. CA: Two Hearings Focus On Elimination Of Caregiver Resource Centers  More...
  2. CT: Leaders Consider Allowing Home Care Aides To Administer Medication  More...
  3. OH: Comments Due Next Week On State's Transition Plan For Medicaid More...
  4. NY: Governor Cuomo Proposes Removing Spousal Impoverishment Protection  More...

Federal Legislation, Policy & Reports 

  1. Lifespan Respite Program Grant Announcement  More...
  2. GOP's FY 2013 Budget Resolution: Medicaid Block Grants, Medicare Vouchers  More...
International News 
  1. Canada: U.S. May Provide Example On Addressing Elderly Prisoners More...

Research Reports & Journal Articles

  1. Guide To Medicaid Appeals Process Released  More...
  2. Survey: 86% Of Family Caregivers For People With MS Need Financial Assistance  More...
  3. 2012 Alzheimer's Disease Facts And Figures  More...
  4. New Insight On The Issues: Person-And Family-Centered Care More...

Conferences & Trainings

  1. Join Family Caregiver Alliance At The 2012 Aging In America Conference  More...
  2. Webinar: Debt Collection And Credit Reporting Issues Impacting Seniors, April 12  More...
  3. Webinar: Preventing Funding Cuts For Healthy Aging Programs, March 22  More...

Funding, Media & Miscellaneous 

  1. Financial Journalists Asks: "How Is 90% LTC Insurance Rate Hike OK?" More...
  2. Spanish Version: Brochure: 10 Things You Should Know About Aging With Dignity And Independence  More...
  3. New Guide for Aging Services Professionals On Inclusive Services More...

Research Registry   

 

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Governor Brown's proposed FY 2012-13 state budget would eliminate the $2.9 million in funding that is divided between the state's 11 Caregiver Resource Centers (CRCs).  Two recent hearings in Sacramento have focused on the potential impact of eliminating this resource for family caregivers.  At a February hearing, witnesses, including Kathy Kelly from FCA, discussed the history of the CRCs and the impact on middle-class families if the CRC funding is eliminated.  At another hearing last week, family caregivers and service providers testified about the financial and health challenges of caregiving.  Luther Findley, a Sacramento caregiver for his wife with ALS who passed away in January, talked about the financial and emotional stress of caregiving.  A recent analysis of the proposed cuts by the California Legislative Analyst's Office notes: "This proposal is somewhat at odds with the Governor's Coordinated Care Initiative to provide better coordinated care for seniors and persons with disabilities in order to reduce fragmentation in the state's long-term care services continuum. To the extent that the state would be relying more on home and community-based services under the Governor's initiative, the role of the CRC would support those objectives."  More than 3,000 people have signed an online petition against the cuts so far.  For more information, visit:


California Healthline: "Who Cares for the Caregivers?" 

HealthyCal.org: "Governor proposes cuts to caregiver centers" 

LAO: "Summary of LAO Findings and Recommendations on the 2012-13 Budget" 

CRC Online Petition: "Don't balance California's budget on the backs of family caregivers" 

  




Kaiser Health News reports that the Connecticut state legislature is considering allowing trained home care aides to administer medications for people with chronic conditions in their home.  Under current state law, only nurses are allowed to administer medication, and some have suggested that the expense associated with nurse salaries (as compared to home care aides) may serve as an obstacle to transitioning people out of nursing homes and back into the community.  The state spent $128 million on medication administration last year, at an average cost of $54 per visit for each of the 8,500 Medicaid clients.  For more information, visit:


  
  
The state of Ohio is considering large changes to its delivery system for long-term care, and comments on a proposed plan are due next Tuesday, March 27.  On the Governor's Office of Health Transformation website, an introduction notes that five state agencies directly administer Medicaid programs, while at least 14 agencies administer other health, human services, and education programs.  As part of this initiative, a draft plan focused on dual eligibles was released at the beginning of February and calls for combining Ohio's five Medicaid waivers into one global waiver and may also call for changes in administration of PASSPORT.  The Area Agencies on Aging in Ohio, who currently administer PASSPORT, have raised concerns about their role under the proposed plan.  Comments on the proposed plan are due March 27.  For more information, visit:
  
  

  
  
The Staten Island Advance reports that New York Governor Mario Cuomo is considering removing a "spousal allowance" protection in the state's Medicaid program.  Spousal impoverishment protections in Medicaid are designed so that the assets of the spouse not needing Medicaid services are not included in the Medicaid assets and income tests for the spouse needing services.  Advocates have suggested that without the allowance, a couple would be forced to "spend down" to $20,850 in assets, and $1,159 in monthly income in order to qualify for Medicaid.  It is estimated that eliminating this allowance would save the state $34 million annually. For more information, visit:
  


 


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Lifespan Respite Program Grant Announcement

 

The Administration on Aging recently announced that grants are available for the Lifespan Respite Care Program.  There are several funding options available, including one for states who have never received funding, and one for states that first received grants in 2009.  Another grant opportunity is Expansion Grants, which are only available to states that received the grants previously in 2010 and 2011. Pre-application teleconferences are scheduled for March 22 (New and Integration grants) and March 23 (Expansion Grants).  Letters of intent are due April 2, and grants are due by May 14, 2012.  For more information, visit:


Administration on Aging: "Funding Opportunities" 

  


 
GOP's FY 2013 Budget Resolution: Medicaid Block Grants, Medicare Vouchers

 

Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI), released the House FY 2013 Budget Resolution this week.  According to Kaiser Health News, the plan would raise the Medicare eligibility age to 67 by 2034, turn Medicaid into a federal block grant, and repeal the Independent Advisory Board (created by the Affordable Care Act).  Beginning in 2023, Ryan's plan also calls for a voucher-esque system in Medicare.  Rhode Island's Global Medicaid waiver has been touted as a successful "block-grant" model, however, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities suggests that an independent study from the Lewin Group contradicts earlier claims about savings as a result of Rhode Island's Waiver.  For more information, visit:


Kaiser Health News: "New Ryan Budget Would Transform Medicare And Medicaid" 

CBPP: "Why Rhode Island's No Model for a Medicaid Block Grant" 

 


   


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Canada: U.S. May Provide Example On Addressing Elderly Prisoners

CBCNews highlights the graying of the prison population in Canada, and suggests that programs serving older prisoners in the U.S. may serve as a model.  The population of Canadian inmates over the age of 50 has grown 50% in the past decade, and now represents about 20% of the total inmate population.  A program in Nevada, called True Grit, Senior Structured Living, was started in 2004 and allows for older inmates to be grouped together.  Prior to the program being started, older prisoners weren't participating in correctional programs, which reduces their chances of parole.  Mary Harrsion, coordinator of the program, explains, "We don't want to be a nursing home where someone's going to stay here and die."  Instead of focusing on job training and obtaining a GED, the program focuses on classes and activities that may appeal to older inmates, including crocheting blankets that are given to homeless shelters and soldiers.  The New York Times has also highlighted prisoners who are caregivers for other prisoners who have dementia in its Vanishing Minds series.  For more information, visit:


CBCNews: "Canada urged to segregate elderly prisoners" 

New York Times: "Life, With Dementia" 

 


 

 


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Guide To Medicaid Appeals Process Released

 

The Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured released a new background brief that provides an in-depth overview of the appeals process for consumers in the Medicaid program. Medicaid consumers can appeal eligibility decisions or decisions about coverage for specific medical services.  The guide includes several example stories of consumers appealing Medicaid decisions.  For more information, visit:


Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured: "A Guide to the Medicaid Appeals Process" 

 



Survey: 86% Of Family Caregivers For People With MS Need Financial Assistance

  
A new survey from the National Alliance for Caregiving and the National MS Society of 421 family caregivers for a person with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) highlights the unique caregiving challenges presented by the disease.  In the survey, 71% of care recipients display one or more emotional or cognitive symptoms, including emotional changes, depression, and mental confusion.  Caregivers for somebody with cognitive impairments were more likely to say that they would find funding for in-home care, medical paid care at home, or respite care, helpful. For more information, visit:

 

National Alliance for Caregiving and National MS Society: "Multiple Sclerosis Caregivers 2012"   

 


 

2012 Alzheimer's Disease Facts And Figures

 

The Alzheimer's Association released it 2012 report on the disease earlier this month, and the report suggests that caring for people with Alzheimer's will cost $200 billion this year, including $140 billion in care paid for by Medicare and Medicaid.  The Association explains that the cost of healthcare for somebody with Alzheimer's and another disease is far more expensive, for example a senior with Alzheimer's and diabetes costs Medicare 81% more than a senior with diabetes but no Alzheimer's.  There are over 15 million friends and family members caring for people with Alzheimer's and dementia and they provide over 17 billion hours of "free" care annually with a value of $210 billion.  For more information, visit:

 

2012 Alzheimer's Disease Facts And Figures  

 


 

New Insight On The Issues: Person-And Family-Centered Care

  

A new brief from the AARP Public Policy Institute focuses on person- and family-centered care as a mechanism to improve long-term services and supports.  The brief highlights that families are an integral part of long-term care and therefore should be acknowledged within this new model of care.  The author explains: "In a PFCC approach, family caregivers are no longer viewed as just a "resource" for their loved ones; rather, they are recognized as individuals who may themselves need information, training, and support."  For more information, visit:

 

AARP PPI: "Moving Toward Person- and Family-Centered Care" 

  


 

 


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Are you attending the Aging in America Conference?   Presenters at FCA's session, "Policy Perspectives, Media Musings" include Carol Levine, David Lara; Howard Gleckman, Jane Gross, Joanne Kenen, Kathleen Kelly; Sean Coffey, and William Benson.  Participants will learn about developments in 2011 affecting family caregivers, what the future holds, and will also hear from a group of journalists about family caregivers and their coverage in the media. After a rousing session, join FCA at our evening reception to hear from the recipients of the 2011 Rosalinde Gilbert Innovations in Alzheimer's Disease Caregiving Legacy Awards.  For more information, visit:

 

Family Caregivers: Policy Perspectives, Media Musings (Friday, March 30, 8:00-11:00AM)

The 2011 Rosalinde Gilbert Innovations in Alzheimer's Disease Caregiving Legacy Awards: A Reception Honoring the Award Recipients (Friday March 30, 6:30-8:30PM) 

Aging in America 2012 

 


 

 

A webinar on April 12, from 1:30-2:30 PM (ET) will focus on unlawful, harassing, and deceptive debt collection and credit reporting practices and the federal laws that protect consumers from these practices.  Jim Francis, a Pennsylvania attorney who focuses on consumer litigation is the presenter, and topics will include the most frequent unlawful practices, common myths used to deceive seniors, and how to defend against these practices.  For more information or to register, visit:

  

Webinar: "Debt Collection and Credit Reporting Issues Impacting Seniors" 

 


 

Webinar: Preventing Funding Cuts For Healthy Aging Programs, March 22

 

The National Council on Aging is presenting a webinar on March 22, from 1:00-2:00PM (ET) focused on evidence-based health promotion and disease prevention programs and advocacy on funding for these programs.  The webinar will address federal policy opportunities, the difference between advocacy and lobbying, and resources to educate policymakers about evidence-based programs.  For more information, visit:

 

Preventing Funding Cuts for Healthy Aging Programs: What You Can Do to Help 

 


 


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Financial Journalists Asks: "How Is 90% LTC Insurance Rate Hike OK?"

 

Terry Savage, the national syndicated financial columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times, recently wrote two columns focused on long-term care insurance premium rate hikes.  Savage profiles Bob and Cheryl Levy, aged 69 and 64, who recently received a letter from John Hancock, informing them that their annual long-term care insurance (LTCI) premiums were going to increase from $3,893 to $7,385.  While LTCI is often suggested as a way to plan for the almost inevitable need for long-term care, insurers in this industry have struggled to appropriately "price" their products.  In her second column, Savage addresses how to deal with premium increases, including opting out of inflation protection, or reducing the benefit period.  For more information, visit:

Chicago Sun-Times: "How is a 90% long-term care rate hike OK?"

Chicago Sun-Times: "How to handle soaring long-term care rates" 

 



Spanish Version: Brochure: 10 Things You Should Know About Aging With Dignity And Independence

 

A brochure from the Scan Foundation highlights ten things that Americans may not know about aging with dignity (i.e. Medicare does not pay for long-term care) and also provides five strategies for addressing these ten issues.  The brochure, now available in Spanish, is five pages and is intended for a consumer audience.  For more information, visit:

 

Scan Foundation: "10 Cosas Que Usted Debe Saber Sobre Como Vivir La Tercera Edad Con Dignidad e Independencia"

Scan Foundation: "10 Things You Should Know About Aging With Dignity And Independence" 

  



New Guide for Aging Services Professionals On Inclusive Services

 

SAGE's National Resource Center on LGBT Aging recently released a comprehensive guide for aging services professionals and agencies.  The guide can help agencies to create a welcoming environment for diverse populations, including LGBT older adults.  For more information, visit:

 

National Resource Center on LGBT Aging: "Inclusive Services for LGBT Older Adults: A Practical Guide to Creating Welcoming Agencies" 

  


 


To find caregiver support services in your state, visit FCA's Family Care Navigator http://caregiver.org/caregiver/jsp/fcn_content_node.jsp?nodeid=2083

2012 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 Policy_Digest@caregiver.org or visit the Family Caregiver Alliance website at www.caregiver.org.

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Caregiving PolicyDigest is a publication of the National Center on Caregiving at Family Caregiver Alliance, 785 Market Street, Suite 750, San Francisco, CA 94103.

This project is supported, in part, under a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Aging. Grantees undertaking projects under government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions.  These contents, however, do not necessarily represent the policy of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and endorsement by the Federal Government should not be assumed.