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January 25, 2018

NPAF Celebrates Passage of the RAISE Family Caregivers Act

National Patient Advocate Foundation (NPAF) celebrated the passage of the Recognize Assist Include Support Engage (RAISE) Family Caregivers Act, legislation that calls for a national strategy to address the challenges confronting caregivers today.

Nearly 44 million family caregivers provide approximately $470 billion annually in unpaid care to seriously and chronically ill adults and children across the country. In fulfilling their role, many caregivers experience distressing physical, emotional and economic effects that strain their own health and financial security. Moreover, because most health and social support programs are patient-focused, caregivers rarely receive the education, training and support they need to confidently preform the complex tasks required of them.

The RAISE Family Caregivers Act directs the Health and Human Services Secretary, in consultation with an Advisory Council, to develop the Family Caregiving Strategy. This strategy must recommend actions that federal, state and local governments, along with other providers, can take to recognize and support family caregivers, including:

  • Promoting person- and family-centered care;
  • Assessment and service planning, including care transitions and coordination;
  • Information, education and training supports, including palliative care, hospice care and advance planning services;
  • Respite options;
  • Financial security and workplace issues.

“Family caregivers are our most passionate patient advocates, but they seldom take the time to advocate for themselves and their needs,” said Rebecca Kirch, Executive Vice President of Health Care Quality and Value. “This legislation will not only help them, but will ultimately help the patients they care for as well.”

The bipartisan RAISE Family Caregivers Act was sponsored by Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI). Its companion in the House of Representatives was sponsored by Rep. Gregg Harper (R-MS) and Rep. Kathy Castor (D-FL). It was endorsed by over 60 organizations, including NPAF.