adult-aged-aging-1305302

Supporting Funding for Kupuna Caregivers

By Kuʻunani De Monte

On Friday, February 1st, the hearing for Senate Bill 1025 (SB1025) will take place in the Hawaiʻi State Capitol Conference Room 229.

SB1025 is a bill advocating to change the Kupuna Caregivers Program allocation cap from $70 per day to $350 per week. This bill does not change the amount allocated to kupuna, but instead takes a different approach to how the funds are distributed. Viewing funding distribution as weekly totals instead of daily will aid in negotiating contracts for services with more vendors, which in turn will provide more options for kupuna care.

Testimony is a simple way for you to help encourage our elected officials to push the bill forward. Please join us in support of SB1025 by submitting testimony on the Hawaiʻi State Capitol website or by sending an email to CPHtestimony@capitol.hawaii.gov.

Mahalo for your support.

Below is sample testimony that can be copy and pasted into your online testimony submission:

TESTIMONY IN SUPPORT OF SB 1025, RELATING TO THE KUPUNA CAREGIVERS PROGRAM

I am writing to express my support for Senate Bill 1025, relating to the Kupuna Caregivers Program. This bill continues the needed funding for the Kupuna Caregivers program, a critical part of the infrastructure to help our kupuna and their caregivers. 

By now we know that the need is there. The Executive Office on Aging reported that thousands of new calls came into its lines when the program was first launched. And we know why they are calling. The cost of of professional caregiving continues to rise and our families simply cannot afford to take care of a loved one and remain fully employed. This program helps those in the gap group who are not eligible for medicaid or medicare to help with the costs, but are still barely making it, at times at risk of losing their jobs or having to reduce hours at work because the duties at home are too great. This reduces the income earning power of the caregivers, their social security benefits, at times risking their insurance coverage, and placing them closer and closer into poverty.

The Kupuna Caregivers program is a prevention program, helping people before crisis has struck. It also helps reduce costs to the state by possibly delaying the time that a family may become eligible for medicaid. Studies have also shown that people that age at home with family are more likely to have better health outcomes, reducing hospitalization and ER visits, which ends up saving our state of expensive medical procedures that could have been prevented with adequate care.

This bill will provide the needed $2 million in funding, which will help cover those people who are still in the waiting list. It will also change the statue so instead of providing $70 per day in services it would be an average of up to $350 per week (the same as $70 per day for 5 days a week) so that the Executive Office on Aging is able to negotiate more freely with vendors and be able to provide more services.

Each year the Hawaii Legislature has shown leadership on this issue by creating and continuing to fund the program. We hope this year you will once again advocate for our program to continue receiving funding.

Mahalo for considering my testimony.