By Eric Dowdy, Chief Government Affairs Officer, LeadingAge California
As we continue to deal with the Omicron variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the pandemic’s impact can be felt in nearly every aspect of senior living and care. Tremendous strain has been placed on our caregivers, nurses, food service, transportation, and all other areas of our communities and services.
The Governor’s 2022-23 Budget Proposal unveiled in January provides a glimmer of hope as investments in workforce are chief among his spending priorities. LeadingAge California has been at the table with state partners to ensure funding is directed at our sector where it is most needed. With an approximate investment of $6 billion over three years, there is great potential to assist a workforce challenge that has reached crisis levels.
We continue to prioritize disaster preparedness and response and have pursued a California Long-Term Care Mutual Aid Plan with policymakers. This system, used in other parts of the country, would allow communities to assist each other in times of crisis or need. The platform allows for communities to flag a need for help and others can respond online within minutes to issues ranging from a need for PPE to mass evacuations and transportation.
We will also be working on the reauthorization of AB 1629 and the Administration’s efforts to reform nursing facility financing. Included in the budget proposal is a reform of the financing system away from a cost-based methodology to “one that incentives value and quality.”
Other priority areas include: a $10 million investment to support the Alzheimer’s Healthy Brain Initiative, $2.1 million for a data dashboard for the Master Plan for Aging, $2.8 billion to begin implementation of CalAIM, a permanent backup system for IHSS workers, and a 24 percent increase in SSI/SSP.
The 2022 proposed budget also includes $500 million in State Low-income Housing Tax Credits and a one-time $500 million General Fund investment in mixed-income housing and portfolio reinvestment/urban housing preservation.
This year marks the second year of implementation of the Master Plan for Aging. Legislation will be introduced through the end of February and several bills are anticipated to move the plan forward. Be sure to access all the latest communication on COVID-19 guidance, legislation, and regulatory changes on LeadingAge California Connect. We are always here to assist.
We wish you a happy and prosperous 2022!