The Joint Legislative Committee on Family Caregiving met today and voted to accept the draft committee report, and to authorize the chairs (Senator Ihara and Rep. Lee) to make any changes prior to submitting the final to the Senate President and Speaker of the House. The report is available at http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/ or click here. Based on the findings, draft legislation will be produced for introduction in the 2008 legislative session. Recommendation highlights include:
*The work of the committee be extended for one year beyond its sunset date of June 30, 2008, and that the name of the committee be changed to Joint Legislative Committee on Aging in Place.
*An appropriation for the Kupuna Care program administered by the Executive Office on Aging, to continue providing services to qualified caregivers.
*A tax credit for the cost of home modifications, or grants for home modification through Kupuna Care using a cash and counseling approach.
*Establish a caregiver tax credit for caregivers who provide care for qualified care recipients, or grants through Kupuna Care using a cash and counseling approach.
*That the University of Hawaii coordinate people and resources on elder issues. An interdisciplinary center of aging should be formally and physically established and should serve as the focal point of all information related to eldercare.
*Establish an employee-financed paid family leave program under the state Temporary Disability Insurance Law to provide wage replacement benefits to employees who take time off from work to care for a seriously ill family member.
*Appropriation of funds for a cash and counseling program in which non-Medicaid participants direct and manage their personal assistance services according to their own specific needs.
*Establish a task force to follow up on the issues raised by the grandparents raising grandchildren.
*That Emergency respite, overnight respite, and weekend respite be added as covered services under the Kupuna Care program.
*Adoption of a resolution to request the UH to include in its natural disaster planning program provisions to address the needs of Hawaii's elderly, particularly caregivers and elderly shut-ins.