OLR Bill Analysis

SB 989

AN ACT CONCERNING THE ALZHEIMER'S RESPITE CARE PROGRAM.

SUMMARY:

The State-Wide Respite Care Program provides respite care for people with Alzheimer's disease or related disorders, regardless of age, who are not enrolled in the Connecticut Homecare Program for Elders (CHCPE). The bill increases from $ 30,000 to $ 41,000 the program's annual income limit and increases its asset limit from $ 80,000 to $ 109,000. Beginning July 1, 2009, the bill requires the Department of Social Services (DSS) commissioner to annually increase the income and asset limits to reflect Social Security cost of living adjustments.

The bill also authorizes the commissioner to adopt regulations allowing program participants who demonstrate a need for additional services to receive up to $ 7,500 for respite care services. Current law limits respite care services to $ 3,500 annually. (Respite care services other than adult day care are also limited to 30 days annually. )

Finally, the bill adds personal care assistant (PCA) services to the list of respite care services the program provides. Respite care services provide short-term relief for family caregivers from the demands of continual care for an individual with Alzheimer's or related diseases. Under current law, they include homemaker services, adult day care, short-term medical facility care, home-health care, and companion services.

BACKGROUND

PCA Services

PCAs provide non-medical care, such as assistance with bathing, dressing, eating, walking, toileting, or transfer from a bed to a chair.

DSS currently offers PCA services under the following Medicaid Home-and Community Based-Service waiver programs: the CHCPE's PCA Pilot program, the Acquired Brain Injury program, and the PCA Waiver program for disabled adults. Under these programs, participants hire their own assistants to help with personal care and activities of daily living, instead of going through a home health care agency. The participant hires and manages the assistant, but a financial intermediary handles the paperwork.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2009

COMMITTEE ACTION

Human Services Committee

Joint Favorable

Yea

18

Nay

0

(03/10/2009)