The California Collaborative for Long Term Services and Supports has kicked off its 2019 advocacy on behalf of Californians who use long-term services and supports (LTSS) with a letter to legislative leaders outlining critical priorities for the upcoming year.
Addressing Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins and Speaker Anthony Rendon, the Collaborative conveyed 12 specific proposals and three development concepts that our members will be bringing to the Legislature in 2019 to strengthen services for Californians of all ages who experience disabilities, functional limitations or chronic conditions and who need a wide variety of LTSS in their daily lives.
The proposals fall into three general categories, including preventing losses of currently authorized services, expanding access to needed services that bend the cost curve, and strengthening and modernizing community living and supports.
Because California does not have a single unified system of care that addresses LTSS across populations, these services are necessarily spread throughout different departments and programs, and the advocacy efforts on their behalf are many and diverse. The Collaborative urged the Legislature to understand the vast array of programs, large and small, that provide crucial services to the growing older adult and disabled population, and to take a holistic and comprehensive approach to making critical investments in all the systems of care that support vulnerable populations, their caregivers and the programs that they depend on.
Amber Christ, the Collaborative’s Vice Chair for Policy, outlined the challenge. “In the past, due to the fragmented nature of California’s separate aging and disability systems, services and financing, these programs have often been weighed against one another in Legislative deliberations. This is problematic approach that replicates the fragmentation, disarray and fragility of these crucial systems of care.”
She went on to say, “An older adult with dementia who needs assisted living, a disabled person who needs supported living services, a family caregiver struggling to hold a job along with intense caregiving responsibilities, workforce shortages across social services programs, lack of access to the right program at the right time – all of the policy challenges that face California’s aging and disability systems are important, and it is a disservice to vulnerable Californians when these programs are pitted against one another in budget deliberations.”
Members of the Collaborative believe that California needs a system of high-quality, cost-effective long-term services and supports that strengthen the person, his or her family, caregivers, circles of support, and the community at large. The 2019 LTSS priorities being advanced in the Legislature will strengthen systems of care and move California in the direction of a rational, cost-effective system that better serves California’s most vulnerable populations.
You can learn more about the Colllaborative’s policy work on our website.