Caregivers join seniors and people with disabilities in urging the state to protect Californians
SEIU 2015 President April Verrett speaking at an anti-EVV community forum in Sacramento, CA
Sacramento — Caregivers with SEIU Local 2015, the largest long term care local union representing nursing home and home care workers, urged legislators on the Assembly Budget Committee today to codify policies that protect the privacy and care of seniors and people with disabilities as the state attempts to implement the Federally required Electronic Visit Verification (EVV) policy. As the demand for long term care by seniors and people with disabilities in California continues to grow, it is imperative that the state have laws in place now that protect our loved ones and the care they need to survive.
California has nearly 8 million individuals who are seniors or persons with physical, developmental, intellectual, or mental disabilities and every year several of these individuals are at risk of losing the care they need to survive. Because of legislation put in place by then-Governor Schwarzenegger, every budget cycle seniors and people with disabilities are at risk of losing 7% of the hours that ensure their access to an In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) caregiver who helps administer medication, take them to doctor’s appointments, and bathe and feed them. Furthermore, their right to live with dignity and privacy at home is being threatened with the federally-mandated EVV on the horizon.
Caregivers asked legislators to take action to ensure the home care that seniors and people with disabilities require won’t be compromised by (1) permanently restoring the 7% cuts to IHSS care, and (2) codifying protections that help protect consumers’ privacy ahead of the federally-mandated EVV implementation. Protections which include: EVV systems that exclude GPS-tracking capabilities, guarantee training of caregivers on the state’s designated EVV system, and a robust and collaborative stakeholder engagement process to ensure no infringement on the Olmstead rights of IHSS seniors and people with disabilities.
April Verrett, President of SEIU Local 2015, released the following statement:
“Being a caregiver is backbreaking, selfless work that requires integrity and respect for the seniors and people with disabilities to whom care is given. It’s an indescribable bond that you can only relate to if you’ve ever been a caregiver.
“Because caregivers grow to have such a close relationship with their consumers they understand the delicate nature of their care and are entrusted to help them with such needs as bathing and toileting, and are often part of the conversations when following up with their doctors. Caregivers know firsthand what the needs are of the seniors and people with disabilities they care for.
“Which is why it’s important that legislators listen to caregivers as they join seniors and people with disabilities in advocating for policies that will protect and support the care they provide. Caregivers know that those they care for don’t want an EVV system that is going to invade their privacy. And they know that they don’t want to be worrying year after year that the care they rely on is going to be cut by way of the budget.
“California must put an end to Schwarzenegger-era policies that put seniors and people with disabilities at risk of losing 7% of the hours that ensure their full access to the care they need, and we must ensure that the privacy of our loved ones is protected should the federal government mandate the implementation of EVV.
“As the Golden State, let’s make it a Golden Rule to protect our loved ones by bringing stability to their lives and ending the threat of privacy and care being compromised.”
Panelists at an anti-EVV community forum hosted by SEIU 2015 in Berkeley, CA