News Release from the office of State Senator Judith Zaffirini

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 25, 2007
Contact:Nick Almanza
(512) 463-0121

Senate Passes Zaffirini's CSSB 1865 to Create a Lifespan Respite Care Pilot Program

Austin, TX -- The Texas Senate today (Wednesday) passed the committee substitute for Senate Bill 1865 by Senator Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, which would require the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS) to implement a lifespan respite pilot program for caregivers of persons who require long-term care. The pilot program would improve access to respite care by building upon state and local infrastructures to support the provision of these services.

"Respite care is the support service most often requested by informal caregivers and is essential because it temporarily relieves them of their duties and provides them with much needed rest," Senator Zaffirini said. "Considering the many Texans who require assistance with daily living and the potential costs associated with providing them with institutional services, it is important that the state maintain its informal care system."

There are more than 600,000 persons in Texas who require daily assistance and are at or below 220 percent of the poverty level. Approximately two-thirds of this population receives all of their long-term care from informal caregivers. If these persons were to receive care in a nursing facility paid by Medicaid, the annual cost would range from $2.7 billion to $10.7 billion in state and federal funds.

CSSB 1865 would help sustain the state's informal care system, support caregivers and avoid future Medicaid institutional spending. What's more, the bill would expand upon the limited respite services provided currently by DADS.

This bill must be passed by the House of Representatives before it can be sent to Governor Rick Perry for final approval. The continued progress of this and all bills authored by Senator Zaffirini can be monitored via the internet at www.zaffirini.senate.state.tx.us or by contacting the Texas Legislative Reference Library's toll free in-state hotline, 1-877-824-7038.

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