Senate Bill (SB) 57 will Allow Home-Based Caregivers to Receive Medicaid Wages
by carlos matías
“It’s going to benefit everybody,” Governor Dunleavy said. “But how do you verify visits and prevent neglect?” asked industry professionals. State Senator Cathy Giessel told Sol de Medianoche that the initiative is “good,” although she acknowledges that “government doesn’t solve problems.”
In late July, Alaska’s Republican governor, Mike Dunleavy, signed Senate Bill (SB) 57, which allows people to obtain a license to care for seniors and children at home and receive payment under Medicaid. “It’s a good initiative,” Senator Cathy Giessel, a Republican like Dunleavy, told Sol de Medianoche, because she believes it will “help some people with financial challenges as they care for loved ones at home.”
But it’s not all satisfaction. There are uncertainties. The rule as it stands “may create more problems than solutions,” says Angela Jimenez, an Anchorage-based professional and businesswoman. Angela Jimenez is the owner of McKinley Services and an expert on the difficulties of providing in-home care for the elderly and children. “Licensing people who are not true professionals for in-home care of children and elderly or dependent adults can lead to failure, negligence and fraud,” Angela asserts. “We have seen a lot of fraud in this area. For example, I don’t know how visits are verified. I don’t know how any kind of control will be exercised.”
Mike Dunleavy himself admitted after the signing that “Alaska is the largest state in the United States and has the least amount of assisted living options.” Dunleavy concluded that “meeting the needs of older Alaskans in their community is critical to supporting healthy aging and community sustainability.”
“Will the new legislation passed by Governor Dunleavy meet the needs of Alaskans?” we asked Senator Cathy Giessel, days later. “Governor Dunleavy does not pass laws; the legislature passes laws as the legislative branch of government. Governor Dunleavy then has the option of vetoing the bill, signing it, or allowing it to become law without his signature,” was her initial response.
Days later, Giessel expanded: “You asked if SB 57 will do anything to end the problems of Alaska’s neediest. Here’s my opinion: no government bill will end the problems of those most in need.” “Is SB 57 a good bill?” the senator added. “Yes, it is. It helps some people with financial challenges as they care for loved ones at home. But government doesn’t solve problems. However,it should remove barriers so that people can find solutions to the challenges they face. I want to remove barriers in government so that people can achieve their greatest success.” “Alaskans struggling with dementia and other complex medical needs will be able to remain in their familiar home surroundings cared for by family members, who are trained and paid to provide that loving care. This is particularly beneficial for rural Alaskans in locations where home care agencies are not available.” Senator Giessel said.
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