Legislature(2009 - 2010)BUTROVICH 205

03/15/2010 01:30 PM Senate HEALTH & SOCIAL SERVICES

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Moved SB 307 Out of Committee
Heard & Held
Moved CSSCR 13(HSS) Out of Committee
Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled
              SCR 13-SUPPORTING SENIOR CAREGIVERS                                                                           
CHAIR DAVIS announced consideration of SCR 13.                                                                                  
1:42:28 PM                                                                                                                    
TREVOR FULTON,  staff for  Senator Con  Bunde, introduced  SCR 13                                                               
paraphrasing the following sponsor statement:                                                                                   
     Alaska's senior  population is  growing. The  number of                                                                    
     Alaskans  65  years of  age  or  older is  expected  to                                                                    
     increase by nearly 60 percent  in the next 20 years and                                                                    
     the population of those 85  years or older is projected                                                                    
     to double by  2050. Per capita, Alaska  has the fastest                                                                    
     growing 85 and over population in the entire nation.                                                                       
     While  advances in  medicine, technology,  and assisted                                                                    
     living practices  are enabling seniors to  live longer,                                                                    
     more productive,  and more comfortable lives  than ever                                                                    
     before, the fact  remains that many of  our aging loved                                                                    
     ones  will   at  some  point   require  some   form  of                                                                    
     caregiving.  In  fact,  more than  25  percent  of  all                                                                    
     seniors need some level of  assistance with their daily                                                                    
     It is critical that we as  a state are prepared to meet                                                                    
     and manage the needs of our aging population.                                                                              
     By  supporting senior  caregivers  and encouraging  the                                                                    
     Department  of Health  and Social  Services to  provide                                                                    
     additional education  on the  effects of aging  and the                                                                    
     importance   of  senior   caregivers,   SCR  13   draws                                                                    
     attention  to the  changing  demographics  of aging  in                                                                    
     Alaska  and   the  critical   role  played   by  senior                                                                    
1:45:28 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  PASKVAN   moved  to  adopt  the   work  draft  committee                                                               
substitute (CS) for  SCR 13, labeled 26-LS1481\P,  as the working                                                               
document.  There being  no objection,  version P  was before  the                                                               
1:46:30 PM                                                                                                                    
LORNA  MILLS,  representing herself,  said  she  is a  registered                                                               
nurse and  the owner of Care  Net Inc., a private-duty  home care                                                               
provider in Anchorage that employs  caregivers who help people in                                                               
their own homes. Because un-monitored  care opens the possibility                                                               
for  exploitation of  vulnerable older  persons, there  is a  big                                                               
difference between  hiring someone from a  reputable private-duty                                                               
home care  organization and hiring  someone from a  newspaper ad,                                                               
she said.  As a member  of the National  Private-Duty Association                                                               
(NPDA) and the Alaska chapter, she  said she speaks for the group                                                               
in saying  they are dedicated and  have made it their  mission to                                                               
preserve the integrity of the  private-duty home care industry by                                                               
adhering  to certain  standards.  A goal  of  the association  is                                                               
educate  the community  about  the importance  of  using an  NPDA                                                               
She asked  Mr. Fulton what  the sponsor hopes to  accomplish with                                                               
SCR 13, what he will do  to support businesses like hers, and how                                                               
she can help.                                                                                                                   
CHAIR DAVIS  advised Ms.  Mills to contact  either her  office or                                                               
the sponsor's.                                                                                                                  
1:49:43 PM                                                                                                                    
KAY  BRANCH,  Elder  Health Program  Coordinator,  Alaska  Native                                                               
Tribal Health Consortium  (ANTHC), said ANTHC supports  SCR 13 on                                                               
behalf of their tribal health  partners, the 16,000 Alaska Native                                                               
elders in the  state, and caregivers. And they  encourage DHSS to                                                               
ensure  that  caregiving  resources and  education  embraces  the                                                               
cultural and  linguistic traditions  of Alaska Native  people. As                                                               
part  of the  Medicaid  reform initiative,  Alaska tribal  health                                                               
organizations  collaborated to  design  a tribal  long term  care                                                               
service development plan that would  increase access to both home                                                               
and  community-based  and  facility services  for  Alaska  Native                                                               
elders  and people  with disabilities.  This includes  components                                                               
like SCR  13 that  encourages family  caregivers to  provide care                                                               
and  supplement with  formal services  only when  necessary. This                                                               
maintains  the  family  structure and  honors  the  long-standing                                                               
tradition of caring for elders, she said.                                                                                       
Tribal  health system  partners  continue to  work  with DHSS  to                                                               
increase home  and community-based  services at all  levels. This                                                               
includes  traveling to  rural regions  to  better understand  the                                                               
challenges   of  rural   service  delivery   and  tribal   health                                                               
organizations   thereby  ensuring   equal   access  to   services                                                               
statewide.  Culturally appropriate  nursing  and assisted  living                                                               
homes are  also needed  to provide  the full  range of  long term                                                               
care   services  to   Alaska  Native   elders  and   people  with                                                               
disabilities. ANTHC  therefore also seeks support  for the tribal                                                               
facility  capital projects  in Anchorage,  Kotzebue, and  Bethel,                                                               
she concluded.                                                                                                                  
1:52:56 PM                                                                                                                    
JOANNE  GIBBENS,   Deputy  Director,   Division  of   Senior  and                                                               
Disability  Services, Department  of Health  and Social  Services                                                               
(DHSS), stated that the administration supports SCR 13.                                                                         
SENATOR  DYSON said  the implication  of the  resolution is  that                                                               
DHSS needs a kick in the  pants, but it appears that DHSS doesn't                                                               
look  at  it  that  way.  He asked  what  the  resolution  really                                                               
accomplishes and why the department supports it.                                                                                
MS.  GIBBENS  replied  the  department  supports  the  resolution                                                               
because it recognizes the need and  is committed to doing what it                                                               
can  with existing  and future  resources to  meet that  needs of                                                               
caregivers.  Through a  combination  of federal  and state  funds                                                               
they currently  provide funding for  eight agencies  statewide to                                                               
provide   caregiver  support   services.   That's  probably   not                                                               
sufficient to meet the statewide  need, but they are committed to                                                               
do  what  they  can  and  to continue  working  with  the  Alaska                                                               
Commission  on Aging  to identify  strategies to  improve service                                                               
delivery statewide.                                                                                                             
1:55:57 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR DYSON  referenced the  resolve on page  2 and  asked what                                                               
the impact  is for  the Legislature to  say it  recognizes senior                                                               
caregiving as a profession.                                                                                                     
MS. GIBBENS  said she  believes that  recognizing something  as a                                                               
profession  recognizes it  as a  calling  and a  life's task  and                                                               
work.  Also,  family  caregivers   can  sometimes  get  paid  for                                                               
providing  services and  in that  respect it's  a profession  for                                                               
SENATOR DYSON  asked if she  sees this  as a precursor  to formal                                                               
training and/or licensing.                                                                                                      
MS.   GIBBENS  replied   DHSS   already   provides  training   to                                                               
caregivers,  counseling  and  support  groups  to  families,  and                                                               
respite services for family members.                                                                                            
SENATOR DYSON observed that she's saying "no."                                                                                  
MS. GIBBENS agreed.                                                                                                             
SENATOR  DYSON asked  Mr. Fulton  if he  and the  sponsor believe                                                               
that the  resolution commits the  Legislature provide  funding to                                                               
do everything outlined in the resolve section on page 2.                                                                        
CHAIR DAVIS suggested  he take the resolution at  face value. She                                                               
believes it's  appropriate for the department  to express support                                                               
and doesn't feel that it will bind the Legislature.                                                                             
SENATOR DYSON  said it could  be argued differently but  he won't                                                               
push it.                                                                                                                        
2:01:09 PM                                                                                                                    
MARIE  DARLIN, AARP  Capitol City  Task Force,  expressed support                                                               
for SCR  13. It's important  to educate people about  the growing                                                               
need for caregiver services because  that need for those services                                                               
is growing  rapidly. She  suggested that  a little  more emphasis                                                               
might  be  given  to  letting   people  know  what  services  are                                                               
available through the state or community organizations.                                                                         
2:03:12 PM                                                                                                                    
DENISE DANIELLO, Executive Director,  Alaska Commission on Aging,                                                               
Department of  Health and Social  Services (DHSS),  said Alaska's                                                               
senior  population  is  growing  faster than  any  state  in  the                                                               
nation, but  not because seniors  are moving here. It's  that the                                                               
people  who  moved here  in  the  '70s  and  '80s are  aging  and                                                               
choosing to remain in Alaska.  This is an important population in                                                               
terms of  their investment in  Alaska. According to a  study done                                                               
by the  University of Alaska,  seniors contribute more  than $1.5                                                               
billion to the  state economy each year and  this doesn't include                                                               
the  seniors who  continue to  work and  volunteer. SJR  13 calls                                                               
attention to  the changing demographics  and the need to  look at                                                               
the  types of  services that  are provided  and whether  they are                                                               
sufficient to keep seniors living here.                                                                                         
2:06:09 PM                                                                                                                    
KEVIN TURKINGTON,  CEO, Senior Care  of Alaska;  President, Older                                                               
Persons Action Group  and Alaska chapter of  the National Private                                                               
Duty Association (NPDA), said he  is testifying in support of SCR
13.  It can  bring  a  better balance  to  supporting the  entire                                                               
senior population.  Many resources are focused  to the low-income                                                               
seniors  and,  while  that  is important,  about  75  percent  of                                                               
seniors don't qualify  for these services. The best  way to serve                                                               
seniors and  lower the costs  of doing  so is to  empower seniors                                                               
and family and professional caregivers.  This can be accomplished                                                               
by filtering  all current regulations and  subsequent legislation                                                               
through SCR 13  and the powerful statement if makes  on behalf of                                                               
seniors and their families.                                                                                                     
2:09:54 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  DAVIS called  an at  ease due  to a  teleconference system                                                               
2:17:16 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR DAVIS reconvened the meeting and closed public testimony.                                                                 
2:17:57 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR PASKVAN  moved to report  CSSCR 13,  labeled 26-LS1481\P,                                                               
from  committee  with  individual  recommendations  and  attached                                                               
fiscal  note(s). There  being no  objection, CSSCR  13(HSS) moved                                                               
from the Senate Health and Social Services Standing Committee.                                                                  

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