DIMENSIONS Winter 1999

THE LEGISLATURE'S TASK FORCE TO CONSOLIDATE STATE CHRONIC HEALTH CARE SERVICES

By Josselyn Winslow, Executive Director

Note: Each issue of Dimensions features a contribution from one of the Alzheimer's groups in Washington. This article is reprinted with permission from the Alzheimer Society of Washington.

Since 1983 the Alzheimer Society of Washington has worked for consolidation of services to persons of all ages who are disabled by chronic mental and physical conditions.

In the past, advocates for dementia care have often been required to obtain a wide variety of services from two branches of the Department of Social & Health Services (DSHS): Health & Rehabilitative Services (HRSA) and Aging & Adult Services (AASA). The 1998 state legislature directed DSHS to replace the current chronic health care systems with a single organization. It assigned the task to a Long Term Care (LTC) Task Force.

The seven-member Long Term Care Task Force consists of four legislators from the health care committees of both houses and three gubernatorial appointees. They are the deputy secretaries of DSHS and Department of Health and the State LTC Ombudsman. The final report is due the governor and legislature by December 12, 1999. The Task Force has divided its work among five advisory committees. They focus on: 1) Quality and Safety, 2) Boarding Home Transfer, 3) Appropriate Placement, 4) Education and Training, and 5) Reorganization and Consolidation.

People concerned about appropriate chronic health care for people with a mental or physical disability must work together and with the legislature to improve services. For more information about participating in an advisory committee to the Long Term Care Task Force, contact Duane Thurman at 360-902-0676, or the Alzheimer Society of Washington at 360-671-3316, fax 360-715-9940.

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