California legislators are considering a package of 24 bills this session collectively aimed at improving the state’s support network for aging services and long-term care.
The bills — 12 in the Assembly and 12 in the Senate — deal with a variety of issues involving some of the 112 separate programs for aging and long-term care overseen by 20 different agencies and departments in the state and county governments.
Many of the reforms are in response to a report by the Senate Select Committee on Aging and Long Term Care, which spent more than a year reviewing services for older people in California. The committee’s report — “A Shattered System: Reforming the Aging and Long Term Care System in California” — contends that the state’s disparate efforts to support aging Californians are disjointed and less effective than they could and should be.
The bills from more than a dozen lawmakers range from sweeping reforms, such as those proposed by Sen. Carol Liu (D-La Cañada Flintridge), to specific, finite changes, such as a 60-day limit for investigating nursing home complaints and broadening the scope of practice for nurse practitioners.
Liu, chair of the Senate Select Committee on Aging and Long Term Care, introduced legislation that would create a new HHS department — the Department of Community Living, create a new post — Assistant Secretary of Aging and Long Term Care, and develop a state Aging and Long Term Care Plan. Another Liu bill calls for the creation of a statewide web portal linked with regional websites giving consumers and caregivers information on aging and long-term care services and supports.
We asked stakeholders and legislators to assess the package — either collectively or as individual bills.
We got responses from: