Vol. 15, No. 6
November 30, 2015

Lifespan Respite Care Reauthorization Act of 2015 (H.R. 3913)
  • This bill amends the Public Health Service Act to extend lifespan respite care programs through the fiscal year 2020. Each state agency awarded a grant or cooperative agreement for lifespan respite care must collect, maintain, and report to the Department of Health and Human Services data and records to enable monitoring and evaluation of the lifespan programs and activities.
Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act (S. 2180)
  • This bill amends the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 and other laws to clarify appropriate standards for Federal employment discrimination and retaliation claims.
Ruthie and Connie LGBT Elder Americans Act of 2015 (H.R. 3793)
  • This bill amends the Older Americans Act of 1965 to include LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) individuals within the purview of the Act. It authorizes the Administration of Aging to (1) designate within it a person responsible for addressing issues affecting LGBT older individuals; (2) conduct studies and collect data to determine the services needed by LGBT older individuals; and (3) establish and operate the National Resource Center on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Aging.
Support Our Military Caregivers Act (H.R. 3989)
  • This bill permits an individual to elect to have an independent contractor perform an external clinical review in the event of a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) denial of an individual's application to be a caregiver or family caregiver eligible for VA benefits; a VA determination of the level of personal care services that a veteran requires; and a revocation of benefits by the VA.
Hillary Clinton Puts Family Caregiving on the Political Front-Burner
  • This Forbes article details Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton's proposals for assisting family caregivers if she is elected. Clinton's four (4) proposals are: a 20 percent tax credit to subsidize the out-of-pocket costs of family caregivers, a new initiative to improve the lives of direct care workers, giving credit toward Social Security benefits for people who leave the paid workforce to care for loved ones, and expanding funding for caregiver respite.
New Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Rules Recognize Advance Care Planning
  • This American Geriatrics Society press release highlights how new CMS rules will include payment for Advance Care Planning in the final 2016 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule. In addition to recognizing advanced care planning, CMS also modified its current policy regarding billing for transitional care management.
California's Legislative Action on Aging and Long-Term Services and Supports in 2015
  • The SCAN Foundation recently published this fact sheet, which provides an update on 33 legislative measures relating to aging and long-term services and supports (LTSS) reforms, and action taken by the legislature and governor in 2015.
New York
An Act to Amend The Real Property Tax Law (A. 2124A)
  • This bill requires that landlords notify tenants of the senior citizen rent increase exemption program and the disability rent increase exemption program at least once annually, including with a new lease and all renewal leases.
Identification of Caregivers (S. 676B)
  • This bill amends public health law with regard to the identification of caregivers. Individuals identified by a patient as a caregiver may include, but are not limited to, a relative, partner, friend or neighbor who has a significant relationship with the patient.
New Jersey
Resolution Designating the Fourth Week of March of Each Year as "Military Caregivers Week" (A.J.R. 76)
  • This joint resolution designates the fourth week of March of each year as "Military Caregivers Week," which honors military caregivers through programs and events and raises awareness as to the many challenges they face.
A Mobile Health Intervention Supporting Heart Failure Patients and Their Informal Caregivers: A Randomized Comparative Effectiveness Trial
  • In this study, researchers evaluated mobile health (mHealth) support for caregivers of heart failure (HF) patients with respect to existing mHealth interventions that have been used for heart failure self-care. The research showed that a model including automated feedback to an informal caregiver outside the household improved HF patients' medication adherence and caregiver communication, as compared to the traditional model of mHealth self-management assistance.
Couple-Based Tibetan Yoga Program for Lung Cancer Patients and their Caregivers
  • This research study examines the effectiveness of a couple-based Tibetan Yoga (TYC) program for improving the quality of life in both lung cancer patients and their caregivers. The study revealed that a couple-based TYC program is a feasible supportive care approach for patients with lung cancer on active treatment and their caregivers, improving spiritual well-being and benefit finding in lung cancer patients, and reducing fatigue and anxiety among caregivers.
Dementia Care Coordination Workforce and Practices in Seven Duals Demonstration States
  • This UCSF Health Workforce Research Center on Long-Term Care report systematically reviews and analyzes care coordinator policies and practices within health plans participating in the US Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' (CMS) demonstration programs for dually-eligible Medicare and Medicaid Beneficiaries. It highlights the need for a workforce of adequate number of dementia-capable care coordinators to serve people with Alzheimer's disease or related dementias (ADRD) and their caregivers.
Measuring Quality in Long-Term Services and Supports: National Core Indicators -- Aging and Disabilities
  • This policy brief from AARP describes a new assessment called the National Core Indicators -- Aging and Disabilities (NCI-AD) that can be used to fill a data void on the quality of care and quality of life for millions of older people and adults with disabilities who receive in-home services. The report also outlines existing uses of the assessment and makes recommendations for its future application to inform state and national policy.
Are Good Doctors Bad for Your Health?
  • This New York Times op-ed discusses the findings of a recent research paper published in JAMA Internal Medicine, which revealed that patients with acute, life-threatening cardiac conditions did better when senior cardiologists were not present to provide care--perhaps because these doctors tend to try more interventions, which do not always result in improved health outcomes. The editorial suggests that patients and caregivers should ask more questions when doctors propose an intervention: studies show that when patients are given information about benefits and risks they tend to consent to fewer interventions and feel more informed about their decisions.
House Calls For The Homebound Make A Comeback
  • This NPR profile describes the increasing trend of doctors performing house calls, which is expected to accelerate as baby boomers grow older. Fluctuations in the volume of Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements for house calls--increases in response to expansion under the Affordable Care Act on the one hand, and decreases in response to contraction under sequestration on the other--demonstrate the importance of paying home care providers adequately for their services in order to increase the workforce of physicians willing to make home visits.
When Kids Are the Caregivers
  • This US News article spotlights the 1.4 million children between ages 8 and 18 who are caregivers nationwide. These children most frequently provide care for parents or grandparents, taking on diverse responsibilities such as cooking and other household tasks; hands-on care like bathing, dressing, and toileting; and even taking on part- or full-time work in addition to their schooling to cover the cost of living. The article also identifies resources for young caregivers offered by the American Association of Caregiving Youth and other organizations working to support young caregivers.
Why We Need to Talk About Alzheimer's
  • This Time editorial argues that family members and healthcare providers must be better prepared to have conversations about Alzheimer's and its outcomes--which, when had, have been shown to improve quality of life for patients and caregivers, alike. The editorial suggests that better training for health professionals and a new provision of Medicare that will reimburse for end-of-life care discussions may help to increase communication about advance-care planning.
Baby Steps: Will Boomers Buy Into Mobile Health?
  • This California Healthcare Foundation issue brief examines the fit between existing mobile health technology products and senior consumers' needs. The brief identifies specific mismatches between what industry investors want to accomplish and what aging baby boomers are likely to buy and use. It also predicts how the mobile health tech market will change in the future, and how those changes may benefit older adults and improve their self-care.
Hell's Grannies
  • This The Economist article highlights a new solution to the reduced mobility faced by an aging population who often lose the right to drive to better ensure public safety. DriverLab, a simulator being built at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, is designed to test how good existing licence-holders are, and could be used in the future to allow elderly individuals to drive using restricted licences based on their performance on a simulated driving test.
Intel-GE Care Innovations™ and Happify to Collaborate On Groundbreaking Program To Help Family Caregivers Of The Chronically Ill
  • This Business Wire press release details a new partnership between Intel-GE Care Innovations and Happify, which will yield an integration of their mutual telehealth programs to deliver expanded services to family caregivers. Building upon the Care Innovations Health Harmony programming, through which patients and caregivers receive interactive educational content and can securely send health information to clinicians from the comfort of their homes, the addition of Happify's mobile app will help caregivers improve their emotional health and well-being through interventions that help them manage the challenges of caring for a loved one.
Japan is Running out of People to Take Care of the Elderly, so it's Making Robots Instead
  • This Tech Insider article describes the massive investment Japanese companies are making in the development of carebots, robots specifically designed to assist elderly people, to meet the needs of the roughly 20-percent-and-growing population of adults 65 and older. Facing a projected shortage of 1 million caregivers by 2025, the Japanese government is also allocating a third of its budget to developing carebots, which may act as physical assistants, mobile servants, or even companions for the elderly.
Alzheimer's and Dementia Care Relief Grant Program
  • Hilarity for Charity and the Home Instead Senior Care network are collaborating to award home care grants to those providing care to their loved ones living with Alzheimer's disease or other dementias.
  • The grants will be awarded across the United States and Canada, and are meant to contribute to the provision of exceptional home care to families affected by this disease, and to give these families support and rest.

December 1, 2015 is #GivingTuesday
  • #GivingTuesday is an annual social media response to the consumerism of Black Friday and Cyber Monday following Thanksgiving, and is a great day to support Family Caregiver Alliance's (FCA) work by donating online.
  • Please visit to learn more about the history and purpose of #GivingTuesday and follow FCA on Facebook and Twitter to keep up-to-date on its #GivingTuesday activities.
Family Caregiver Alliance's Social Media Campaign
  • FCA has launched a campaign to raise awareness across social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, about the 40 million U.S. family caregivers who provide approximately $470 billion of unpaid service annually.
  • FCA will post photographs of caregivers across the country holding a sign that reads, "I am a Caregiver for my ________," to recognize and publicize the invaluable service family caregivers provide. 
  • To participate in the campaign, visit this page, where you can download your "I am a Caregiver for my ________" sign.
Family Caregiver Alliance's 30 Days of Caregiving Blog
  • FCA has published daily blog posts during the month of November exploring four (4) week-long themes about ongoing changes in the caregiving landscape--changes in who provides care, what the needs of care recipients and caregivers are, where caregiving is taking place in an increasingly globalized society, and how caregiving takes place in light of new technological innovations and policy interventions.
  • Access the blog here.
Resources for CBOs: The SCAN Foundation Linkage Lab Initiative
  • The SCAN Foundation, through its Linkage Lab Initiative, offers a suite of resources for CBOs seeking partnerships with the health care sector. Resources include the following:
    • Case studies from the first cohort of Linkage Lab grantees, which include information about their key objectives and strategies, successes, challenges, and lessons learned.
    • Free online learning modules for CBOs to build leadership and management capacity.
    • Perspectives from Dr. Bruce Chernof on the importance of forming effective health care/CBO partnerships.
The Community Research Center for Senior Health (CRC-SH) Releases a New Resource in the Arena of Evidence Based Programs (EBPs)
  • CRC-SH has developed a free web-based toolkit to guide CBOs through the selection, implementation, and evaluation of EBPs to better promote older adult health and well-being.
*All FCA/NCC Caregiving Policy Digest Research Registry listings are displayed in the manner they were received by FCA/NCC.