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January 26, 2021 - SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara today announced his six appointments to the new Long Term Care Insurance Task california department of insurance logoForce, established within the California Department of Insurance by legislation that he strongly supported to help address the long-term care services and insurance needs of older Californians.

“Our new Long Term Care Insurance Task Force will explore greater options for Californians to help them age with dignity and security,” said Commissioner Lara. “With their deep experience in insurance, culturally competent care and services, and the health needs of older Californians, these Task Force members are ready for the challenge of envisioning a statewide insurance program that is sustainable and meets the needs of our growing diverse population. The health disparities exposed by the current pandemic on our aging population and the services and supports they will need in coming years make this Task Force even more critical today.”

Created by the legislative passage and Governor Gavin Newsom’s signing of AB 567 (Calderon, Chapter 746, Statutes of 2019), the Task Force will, under Commissioner Lara’s leadership, explore how a statewide long-term care insurance program could be designed and implemented to expand the options for people who are interested in insuring themselves should they encounter functional or cognitive disability that requires long-term care, services, and supports. The 15-member Task Force includes the Insurance Commissioner, who will serve as its Chair, as well as the Director of the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) or his designee, the Director of the California Department of Aging or her designee, six individuals appointed by the Commissioner, four individuals appointed by the Governor, one appointment made by the Speaker of the Assembly, and one appointment made by the Senate Committee on Rules.

“The lack of affordable long-term care is a serious threat to the well-being of many Californians, and yet another symptom of the systemic inequities in our health and social support systems,” said DHCS Director Will Lightbourne. “I’m pleased to join this task force and work on solutions that will increase access to long-term care and help provide healthy and dignified lives for our aging populations.”

“Affording the care we need as we age, so we can live where we choose in the community, is a top priority for the thousands of Californians we heard from in developing the Governor’s Master Plan for Aging, released in January,” said California Department of Aging Director Kim McCoy Wade. “Innovative public-private leadership and partnership, such as this new Task Force provides, are essential to developing effective and equitable solutions. I'm eager to work with Commissioner Lara and members of the Task Force to move this important work forward."

Over the next two years, the Task Force will meet to discuss establishing a statewide long-term care insurance program and prepare a feasibility report for the Commissioner, the Governor, and the Legislature by January 1, 2023. The recommendations made by the Task Force in the feasibility report will then be analyzed in an actuarial report to ensure an adequate benefit within a solvent program which, if approved by the Task Force, will be submitted to the Legislature by January 1, 2024.

The first meeting of the inaugural Task Force is expected in early spring 2021. More details are available at http://www.insurance.ca.gov/0500-about-us/03-appointments/ltcitf.cfm.

Newly appointed members include:

Dr. Lucy Andrews, is Director of Nursing and CEO for At Your Service Nursing and Home Care. Dr. Andrews presently serves as Board Chair for the California Association for Health Services at Home (CAHSAH) and is the former Vice Chair of the National Association for Home Care and Hospice in Washington, DC. She is also a recipient of the Lois Lillick Award, which honors advocacy and expertise in the home care industry. Dr. Andrews joins the Task Force as a representative of hospice and palliative care providers.

Grace Cheng Braun, MSPH is President and CEO of WISE & Healthy Aging, which administers the City & County of Los Angeles’ Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program (the largest Ombudsman program in the state, and second in the nation) and Elder Abuse Prevention Services. The community-based, nonprofit social services organization also operates two adult day care centers and other care coordination and enrichment programming for older adults and caregivers of the elderly in Los Angeles. She is also a member of the Steering Committee of both the Los Angeles Alliance for Community Health and Aging (LAACHA) and the Westside Older Adult Services Network, which promotes health and service equity in the Los Angeles community. Cheng Braun joins the Task Force as a representative of adult day services providers.

Michael Mejia is Senior Vice President, Operations for Atria Senior Living where he leads Atria’s operations in the Western U.S. and currently oversees operations at 43 Atria communities in California, including 33 with memory care neighborhoods. He joined Atria in 1998 and since then has overseen operations in Texas and Kansas as Regional Vice President and served as Senior Vice President previously in the Central, Southeast, and Southwest divisions. He is also a member of the California Assisted Living Association (CALA) Board of Directors. Mejia joins the Task Force as a representative of residential care facilities for the elderly.

Doug Moore is the Executive Director of the United Domestic Workers of America (UDW/AFSCME Local 3930) which represents more than 140,000 In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) providers and family child care providers across California. Moore also serves as International Vice President of AFSCME. He was appointed by the State Assembly to the California Task Force on Family Caregiving in 2017. In 2019, he was appointed to the Governor’s Task Force on Alzheimer’s Prevention and Preparedness. Moore joins the Task Force as a representative of independent providers of in-home personal care services.

Dr. Karl Steinberg, M.D., C.M.D., has been a skilled nursing facility and hospice medical director in San Diego County for over 25 years and cares for patients in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and small board-and-care facilities. He is President-Elect of AMDA – The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine, a national organization representing physicians and medical directors working in various post-acute and long-term care settings, and is a delegate to the American Medical Association and the California Medical Association. Dr. Steinberg joins the Task Force as a representative of long-term care health professionals.

Tiffany Whiten is Senior Government Advocate at SEIU California State Council where she oversees and coordinates state legislative and administrative policy development on many SEIU-California policy priorities, including assisted living, IHSS, nursing homes, adult day care, developmentally disabled, and other long-term care sectors as well as racial and social justice issues. She not only represents and advocates on behalf of long-term care providers, workers, and consumers, but is also a family caregiver to her mother with Alzheimer’s. Whiten’s previous roles include working as an Associate with Niemela Pappas and Associates, a Consultant for Senator Mark DeSaulnier, a Legislative Aide to Senate Majority Leader Ellen Corbett, and a Legislative Aide to Senate President pro Tempore Don Perata. Whiten joins the Task Force as a representative of family caregivers.

Source: CA Dept. of Insurance

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