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News Brief

Oct. 2, 2017DES MOINES, Iowa |  By: Nienow

U.S. Senate passes caregivers legislation and sends it to the House

Legislation intended to recognize and bolster the important work of family caregivers is making some progress in Congress – and Iowans are watching it closely. The RAISE Family Caregivers Act – which stands for recognize, assist, include, and support – is headed for the U.S. House after passing the Senate last week. Anthony Carroll with AARP Iowa says it's vital that an integrated national strategy be developed for the estimated 40 million family caregivers across the country, including many in Iowa.

The RAISE Family Caregivers Act would require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to develop, maintain and update a national strategy to address the critical role of family caregivers. It would identify specific actions that could be taken by communities, care providers, employers and government to increase the effectiveness of and supports for caregivers.

Carroll says he's optimistic that the House will embrace the same bipartisan approach to the bill that the Senate has taken. If the bill passes and is signed by the President, developing the initial strategy would take up to 18 months. Carroll says the goal is to help alleviate what can be an overwhelming responsibility of caring for loved ones.

Care coordination between hospitals and family caregivers is sometimes complicated by complex rules about exchanging information when patients are released from the hospital. That too, says Carroll, is an area RAISE seeks to address.