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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Susan Collins (R-ME) and Representatives Gregg Harper (R-MS) and Kathy Castor (D-FL) wrote to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), urging the agency to implement swiftly the Recognize, Assist, Include, Support, and Engage (RAISE) Family Caregivers Act. This bipartisan legislation, which was signed into law earlier this year, establishes a national strategy to support family caregivers across the country. The letter thanks HHS Secretary Alex Azar for his support of caregivers and asks him to begin the process of seeking nominations for the Family Caregiving Advisory Council and taking the first steps to create the national Family Caregiving Strategy, as required by the new law.
“Now and in the future, family caregivers will continue to be the most important sources of support and an invaluable resource to our society, devoting enormous time and attention and making many personal and financial sacrifices to care for their loved ones,” Senators Collins and Baldwin and Representatives Harper and Castor wrote. “This new law would formally recognize and support the millions of family caregivers who are overlooked in our health care system.”
“It is essential for the Family Caregiving Advisory Council to be established immediately in order to give timely advice to the Secretary to inform the national Strategy and to publish a report within the first year of the law’s enactment,” they continued. “We are committed to working with you to support meaningful implementation of the RAISE Family Caregivers Act.”
The primary goals of the RAISE Family Caregivers Act are to develop a coordinated plan to leverage existing resources, promote innovation and promising practices, and provide our nation’s family caregivers with much-needed recognition and support. The RAISE Family Caregivers Act has two major components:
- Family Caregiving Advisory Council. The law creates a Family Caregiving Advisory Council, comprised of federal and non-federal members with experience and expertise in family caregiving issues. It will include a diverse membership of family caregivers, older adults with long-term care needs, individuals with disabilities, experts in family caregiving, advocates for family caregivers, state and local officials, and the heads of Federal departments or agencies (or their designees) that oversee labor and workforce, economic, government financial policies, community service.
- Family Caregiving Strategy. The law directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services to create a Family Caregiving Strategy to support family caregivers within 18 months of enactment. The Secretary will consider the recommendations and expertise from the Family Caregiving Advisory Council in developing the national Strategy.
Click here to read the full letter.
An online version of this release is available here.