NEWS: Pérez and Steinberg join Hundreds at Capitol, Call for Strengthened Home Care

Hundreds of Seniors, People with Disabilities, and Care Providers Speak on Need to Stabilize State’s Home Care System

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Contact: Michael Cox (916) 799-6784 

Sacramento, CA – Hundreds of seniors, people with disabilities, and the care providers who are dedicated to helping them stay healthy at home were joined today by Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez and Senate President pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg as they called for policy solutions to strengthen and stabilize the state’s home care system and provide better care for California’s aging population.

“We know our loved ones would rather be cared for in their own homes by providers who want to see them stay healthy. Yet our current in-home care system is set up in a way that puts it on the budget chopping block year after year- despite the long-term savings and job creation it provides to the state. Our families and the state deserve better,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Darrel Steinberg.  “The first step to stabilizing the system is to integrate it into the long term care continuum.”

“We have worked hard to preserve In Home Supportive Services for the thousands of Californians with debilitating medical conditions who rely on the support from IHSS caregivers to ensure they can live independently, at lower cost to the tax payers,” said Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez.  “Without the support provided by IHSS caregivers, these Californians would be forced into institutionalized care, at far greater cost to the taxpayers.”

Pérez and Steinberg will lead the legislative effort to strengthen California’s home care system, and expressed their desire to construct a robust, deliberative process that ensures involvement from all stakeholders.

“We agree with the need to integrate long term services and supports.  It has been one our top goals for years because we want a structure that creates strong financial incentives for supporting care in the home rather than care in an institution,” said Gary Passmore, Director of the Congress of California Seniors.  “We will work with all stakeholders and with the legislative leadership to get this bill right, to get it passed, and get it signed.”

Today’s rally focused on the need preserve the principle of consumer-directed care, provide access to training and professional development for providers, and to ensure that care is coordinated to better manage chronic conditions and preventive health needs.  The result will be a more efficient system that minimizes nursing home stays, emergency room visits and hospitalization.

“Home care workers take care of medication, nutrition, and hygiene, preventing chronic conditions from getting worse,” said Bill Lehr, a home care provider in Fresno County.  “The health care system and the home care system should work together so I can help my consumer stay healthy and avoid life-threatening, costly complications.”

Among the hundreds participating in today’s rally were members of SEIU United Long Term Care Workers, SEIU United Healthcare Workers West, SEIU Local 521, UDW Homecare Providers Union/AFSCME Local 3930, and California United Health Care Workers SEIU/AFSCME Local 4034.  Combined, this coalition represents over 360,000 in-home care providers.

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