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Advocates Excel:
2010 State Public Policy Accomplishments

While the State’s ongoing budget deficit again posed a serious threat to Alzheimer’s programs and services, Association staff and volunteers continued to increase visibility and awareness of the disease while preventing devasting cuts to and elimination of vital services.  In the midst of all the budget threats, we advanced development of the Alzheimer’s Disease State Plan, which will provide a public policy roadmap for the next ten years to enable California to provide appropriate care and support to families living with Alzheimer’s. 

Highlights

 We reached our top policy goal for 2011: completing development of the Alzheimer’s Disease State Plan.  We convened multiple community meetings and listening sessions throughout California and developed an on-line family caregiver survey that gathered input from over 2,500 individuals, including people in the early stages of Alzheimers and families from Latino, African-American and Asian-Pacific Islander communities.  The State Plan Task Force completed their recommendations for the state plan on September 21st, World Alzheimer’s Day.  The Plan will be finalized by the State Alzheimer’s Advisory Committee on November 17th and released in early 2011.  

 Despite ongoing state budget problems, we had several significant budget victories:

  • Established a permanent funding source for the Long Term Care Ombudsman Program and won approval of $1.9 million.  Efforts will continue in 2011 to increase the funding level.
  • Increased oversight of nursing homes and improved strategies for ensuring facilities meet the 3.2 hours/day/resident staffing requirements that have largely gone unenforced the 10 years they’ve been required in State law.
  • Prevented the elimination of Adult Day Health Care and maintained their 2010 funding level.
  • Prevented any further cuts to the California Alzheimer’s Disease Centers and the Caregiver Resource Centers.
  • Fought back deep cuts to In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS).  The signed budget includes $300 million in savings, the majority of which will be achieved through an IHSS provider fee ($190 million) and a revised caseload estimate ($75 million).  The remaining $35 million will come from a reduction in service hours, meaning recipients will lose 15 minutes of service for every 8 hours of authorized service hours.  Prevented limits on numbers of doctor visits, prescriptions and hospital stays and increases in co-pays for  Medi-Cal services.  We also succeeded in slowing down the mandatory enrollment of seniors and persons with disabilities into Medi-Cal managed care.  Enrollment will begin in June 2011 rather than February.

We succeeded in gaining passage of AB 2435 (Lowenthal), which will expand elder and dependent adult abuse training for psychologists, clinical social workers, and marriage and family therapists.

We helped end the shameful practice by healthcare providers of rescinding coverage when individuals become sick by successfully advocating for AB 2470 (De La Torre).  During the debate over federal healthcare reform, the healthcare provider practice of rescinding coverage when an individual became sick was well-documented.  All too often, this meant individuals and their families were left with no coverage and large healthcare costs to pay.  AB 2470 will help curb this practice.

We held two Sacramento Advocacy Days that were attended by more than 200 advocates. In February advocates came to protest the Governor’s proposed elimination of Adult Day Health Care and drastic cuts to In-Home Supportive Services.  They returned in April with three more asks: maintain funding for the California Alzheimer’s Disease Centers; support AB 2555 (Feuer and Nielson), to provide funding for the Long Term Care Ombudsman; and to post a link on their website to the State Alzheimer’s Plan family caregiver survey.

Thank you to all our volunteer and staff advocates who made our 2010 advocacy successes possible.


California Council
State Public Policy Major Accomplishments
1984-2010

1984
  •  Helped enact legislation to establish the Alzheimer’s Disease Program in the Department of Health Services.  This bill enabled the establishment of a network of Alzheimer’s Disease Research Centers at selected California universities and of the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Fund, which has awarded more than $15 million to California scientists
  • Helped enact legislation that created the Alzheimer’s Day Care Resource Centers, a model program, unique to California, that provides specialized services to persons in the middle and late stages of Alzheimer’s and other dementia disorders for the purpose of postponing and preventing institutionalization
1986
  • Sponsored legislation that was enacted to establish the Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders Research Fund state income tax check-off.  As of 2010, this fund has generated more than $10 million that has been awarded to California scientists

1988

  • Gained passage of legislation to establish the State Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders Advisory Committee in the California Health and Human Services Agency.  The Committee provides ongoing advice and assistance to the administration and the Legislature on the program needs and priorities of families living with Alzheimer’s
1998 - saw the most significant monetary support for Alzheimer’s programs in nine years
  • Won inclusion of $1.7 million in the state budget for 16 new Alzheimer’s Day Care Resource Centers in previously underserved areas and for an increase in program grants from $60,000 to $80,000 annually
  • Succeeded in getting $2 million approved for start-up grants for 20 new Adult Day Health Care sites
  • Helped gain approval of $10.4 million to provide statewide expansion of 11 new Multi-Purpose Senior Service Program sites, which provide comprehensive, community-based case management for frail elderly at risk of nursing home placement
  • Succeeded in getting $8.4 million to fund 23 new Linkages sites, a program that delays or prevents premature or inappropriate institutionalization of frail or disabled adults
  • Helped achieve a $20 million increase in funding for Adult Protective Services to specifically support elder caregiving by mitigating abusive or neglectful environments
2000
  • Enacted legislation to mandate dementia training for Residential Care Facility for the Elderly administrators and direct care staff and to disclose to families special dementia care features when advertised
  • Included in nursing home reform legislation provisions to double from two hours to four the dementia training requirements for Certified Nurse Aides
  • Succeeded in getting $2.4 million included in the state budget to fund the Alzheimer’s Disease Education Initiative, a public/private partnership between the Association and Department of Health Services with the shared goal of early and accurate diagnosis and appropriate intervention and treatment
  • Helped increase funding for nursing home staff wages 7.5% and for In-Home Supportive Services wages to $8.10 and to $12.10 by 2005
  • Increased funding to expand the Caregiver Resource Center in Los Angeles and reduce the waiting list statewide for respite care
  • Helped establish the Caregivers Tax Credit, which provides a $500 state tax credit for qualifying persons with a taxable income of less than $100,000
2003
  • Helped enact legislation to make Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly admission agreements more informative, readable and accessible for residents and their families
  • Secured inclusion of a $450,000 increase (from $292,000 to $742,000) in the appropriation level of the budget for Alzheimer’s disease research funding
  • Helped defeat a moratorium on licensing of new adult day health care facilities and unbundling of their reimbursement rate, which would have denied persons with Alzheimer’s necessary therapy services
  • Helped develop new regulations that will ensure all Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly that provide care to persons with dementia will be dementia capable through staff training and other guidelines
2004
  • Prevented the block granting of funds for the Alzheimer’s Day Care Resource Centers and protected their $4.5 million in state funding
  • Extended to 2010 the sunset date for the Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders Research Fund tax check-off
  • Assisted in the passage of Proposition 71, which will provide $3 billion in funding for stem cell research in California
2005
  • Helped enact legislation that amends the Elder and Dependent Adult Financial Abuse Act to include financial institutions as mandatory reporters of suspected financial abuse
  • Initiated discussions with Administration and Legislative policy leaders on a policy change that will improve access to mental health services by persons with dementia
  • Appointed (State Public Policy Director) to the State Olmstead Advisory Committee
  • Successfully worked for the reinstatement of the State Alzheimer’s Advisory Committee and an increase in its voice with the Health and Human Services’ Secretary
2006
  • Secured $2 million increase for the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Centers
  • Won approval of $6 million funding increase for the Multi-Purpose Senior Services Program
  • Helped gain approval of $18 million increase to improve the Department of Health Services’ capacity to enforce nursing home laws and respond to complaints of abuse and neglect
  • Successfully advocated for a $6.7 million increase for the Department of Social Services to increase the frequency of random inspections of Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly (RCFE)
  • Prevented budget cuts in the adult day health care program and worked for thoughtful reform of the program
  • Sponsored and helped enact legislation to increase medication management training for Residential Care Facility for the Elderly (RCFE) staff
  • Helped enact legislation to require the State to resume enforcing state nursing home laws designed to protect residents from abuse and neglect
  • Gained legislative approval of an audit by the State Auditor of the Department of Health Services, Licensing and Certification Division’s enforcement of state nursing home laws
  • Secured private funding to support public policy advocacy by family caregivers
2007
  • Sponsored legislation that would restore annual state training for the Alzheimer’s Day Care Resources Centers
  • Helped plan and conduct a special Senate hearing focusing on Alzheimer’s disease as a looming public health crisis.  This hearing was prelude to introduction of legislation to call on the State to develop an Alzheimer’s Disease State Plan
  • Organized more than 150 Alzheimer’s advocates for annual Sacramento Advocacy Day – a 30% increase over the previous year’s attendance
  • Coordinated advocacy messaging around the need for California to develop a State Alzheimer’s Plan, which led to a renewed interest in Governor Schwarzenegger’s administration to move forward in the development of such a plan
  • Secured grant funding for a leadership retreat to enable the Council to develop a strategic plan for building an Alzheimer’s movement
2008
  • Conducted a leadership retreat – with volunteer leaders and chapter executives, public policy, communications and program staff as well as National public policy staff – to develop a strategic plan for California to build an Alzheimer’s movement
  • Successfullly passed legislation to develop a State Alzheimer’s Disease Plan
  • Gained support of the Governor and the Secretary of Health and Human Services to seek private foundation funding for development of the State Plan
  • Changed state law to enable two people with early stage Alzheimer’s to be appointed to the State Alzheimer’s Advisory Committee
  • Planned and implemented a rally at the State Capitol attended by more than 1,500 advocates.  This event was the single largest gathering of Alzheimer’s advocates in the history of the Association
2009
  • Cultivated four new legislative champions – Assembly Members Kevin de Leon and Mariko Yamada and Senators Mark Leno and Darrell Steinberg
  • Increased visibility with policy makers through two media events, two advocacy days and numerous message drops in the Capitol.  The first media event – the release of the first-ever California Alzheimer’s Data Report – was held on the State Senate Floor and drew widespread media attention.  In addition, advocates got support from 41 legislators to post the data report on their website or in their newsletter
  • Secured $300,000 from four foundations to fund development of the Alzheimer’s Disease State Plan and guided appointment of 22 state leaders to serve on the State Plan Task Force
  • Laucnhed development of the State Alzheimer’s Disease Plan on World Alzheimer’s Day in the Governor’s office.  Former Speaker Willie Brown, Senator Elaine Alquist, and Health and Human Services Secretary Kim Belshé joined and spoke about the importance of the plan
  • Minimized legislative budget cuts to the California Alzheimer’s Disease Centers, the Alzheimer’s Day Care Resource Centers, Caregiver Resource Centers and other senior and social services
  • Successfully sponsored legislation to extend the sunset for the Alzheimer’s Research Fund tax check-off to 2015, ensuring continued funding for California research grants
  • Worked to include two people with early stage Alzheimer’s on the California Council
2010
  • Hosted two Advocacy Day events in Sacramento, attended by more than 180 advocates
  • Secured a permanent source of funding for the Long Term Care Ombudsman program
  • Strengthened the nursing home rate reform law by increasing nursing home accountability for specific quality improvement measures and state enforcement of these measures
  • Helped prevent total elimination of and any further reductions to the Adult Day Health Care program
  • Prevented further cuts to the California Alzheimer’s Disease Centers
  • Succeeded in having the Legislature restore $1.7 million to the Alzheimer’s Day Care Resource Centers only to see the Governor eliminate this funding
  • Worked with legislative staff members and stakeholder organizations to prevent deep cuts to In-Home Supportive Services program
  • Successfully advocated for legislation which expands required coursework for psychologists, clinical social workers, and marriage and family therapists to include elder and dependent adult abuse assessment and reporting
  • Helped enact legislation which stops health insurer practices of dropping individual’s coverage when they become sick
  • Completed development of the State Plan, which engaged more than 2,500 Californians through statewide community meetings, targeted interviews and an online family caregiver survey in five languages

California Council of the Alzheimer's Association
921 Eleventh Street, Suite 601
Sacramento, CA 95814
916-447-2731 ·  916-447-2741 ( FAX)
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