State-Funded Caregiver Program Will Serve as National Model
With operating one of the largest state-funded family caregiver programs in the country, California will serve as a model for other states that are establishing similar programs, the Sacramento Bee reports. As part of the Older Americans Act signed by President Clinton last fall, the National Family Caregiver Support Program will provide $125 million to states to fund new caregiver programs. California currently spends $12 million annually on 33 caregiver support centers statewide. Under the new federal program, California is expected to receive an additional $13 million, which the state's centers will use to expand services such as family counseling and training, respite care and diagnostic evaluations. Respite care is in "great demand" throughout the state, as about 3,000 caregivers are on waiting lists, which have an average wait time of 16 months. Lynn Friss Feinberg, director of research for the Family Caregiver Alliance of San Francisco, said, "[The federal program] is the first national acknowledgement of families who are caring for loved ones with a chronic illness. It's a modest beginning, but it's an important step to have that national recognition" (Teichert, Sacramento Bee, 2/6).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.