521 home care joins 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

Transforming IHSSSacramento, CA – SEIU 521 members joined hundreds of seniors, people with disabilities, and the care providers who are dedicated to helping them stay healthy at home were joined Feb. 28 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 Darrell 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 of 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, which represents more than 200,000 seniors in our state. “We will work with all stakeholders and with the legislative leadership to get this right.”

The rally focused on the need to 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 reminders, nutrition, and hygiene, preventing chronic conditions from getting worse,” said Bill Lehr, an in-home care provider from 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 home care consumers and 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, the coalition represents over 360,000 in-home care providers.

The rally was covered in the media by KCRA, NBC Sacramento; KION News Monterey; KIEM, NBC Eureka; and KPBS Radio.

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