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 California Governor Puts Wheels in Motion for Master Plan for Aging

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) has issued an executive order committing the nation’s most populous state to create a Master Plan for Aging by Oct. 1, 2020. The plan is meant to guide state government, localities, and private groups in building an age-friendly environment so that all Californians “can age with dignity and independence.”
 
Shifts in California’s population over the next decade will present new and different demands on state and local services across all functions of government, as well as on families and on older Californians,” the document said.

One of the first steps that follows the issuance of the executive order directs the secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency to call a cabinet-level Workgroup for Aging to advise the secretary in developing and issuing the Master Plan. 

Also, the California Health and Human Services Agency and its state partners will convene a Master Plan for Aging Stakeholder Advisory Committee. This groups will include a Research Subcommittee and a Long-Term Care Subcommittee, with an interest in building an age-friendly California. 

Members of the subcommittees are expected to include seniors, adults with disabilities, local government representatives, providers, health plans, employers, community-based groups, foundations, academic researchers, and organized labor, Newsom said. 

The Long-Term Care Subcommittee has a March 2020 deadline to issue a report to the governor on stabilizing state long term care programs and infrastructure, including In-Home Supportive Services, with the full Master Plan completed by October of that year.

In reaction to the executive order, Craig Cornett, chief executive officer and president of the California Association of Health Facilities, which represents around 80 percent of the skilled nursing facilities in the state and is an affiliate of the American Health Care Association, said the action is a good step for Californian elders.

“We welcome thoughtful dialogue and concrete steps to address the needs of the state’s rapidly aging population,” he tells Provider. “Older Californians deserve a health care continuum that allows choice and access to services—from home health to skilled nursing and rehabilitation—depending on their individual needs.”

Newsom also said in the executive order that the Master Plan “must address person-centered care, the patchwork of public services, social isolation, bed-locked seniors in need of transportation, the nursing shortage, and demand for in-home supportive services that far outpaces its capacity.”

He noted that the emphasis in the plan should recognize that healthy aging requires “actively engaging with older adults as contributors to the social, economic, and civic fabric of our communities, encouraging physical and psychological health and well-being in older adults and their caregivers.”

State projections predict the population of over age 60-year-olds in the state will have an overall increase of 166 percent during the period from 2010 to 2060. More than half of the counties in California will have a more than 100 percent increase in this age group. The influence of the 60 and over age group on California was expected to emerge most strongly between 2010 to 2030, according to the California Department of Aging.

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