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Life Health > Long-Term Care Planning

Caregiving strategy bill sails through Senate

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Congress could create a caregiver support advisory council that would leave representatives from the insurance industry in the audience seats.

See also: Alzheimer’s panel short on funding ideas

S. 1719, the Recognize, Assist, Include, Support and Engage (RAISE) Family Caregivers Act bill, calls for the secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to set up a Family Caregiving Advisory Council and work with the council to develop a National Family Caregiving Strategy document.

S. 1719 drafters say the family caregiver strategy document should talk about family caregivers’ financial security, and about policies that could help family caregivers stay in the workforce, as well as ideas for improving care coordination, information services, hospice services and caregiver respite options.

See also: Rosie the caregiver: 10 ways to help her rivet our LTC ship together

Members of the Senate passed the bill by unanimous consent earlier this week. The House referred the bill to the House Education and the Workforce Committee, which has been considering an S. 1719 companion bill, H.R. 3099, since November.

In a description of the advisory council, bill drafters say the council members should include caregivers, older adults with long-term care (LTC) needs, people with disabilities, health care providers, state and local officials, LTC providers, accreditation bodies, veterans and employers.

The list mentions representatives from “relevant industries,” but it does not specifically mention representatives from insurance companies, or representatives from other types of financial services companies.

See also: Revised Alzheimer’s plan says little about insurance

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, introduced the Senate version of the bill in July. Rep. Gregg Harper, R-Miss., introduced the House version at the same time.

Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., and Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Fla., served as cosponsors.

The sponsors said when they introduced the bills that the bills would implement the recommendations of the federal Commission on Long-Term Care.

See also: After the Commission

The commission told Congress to require the development of a family caregiver support strategy.

AARP and the Alzheimer’s Association wrote to Congress to support passage of the bills.

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