State Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson

Editor’s Notes, May 24: Senate Bill 228 passed in the state senate on May 24.

The California governor would appoint an “aging czar” to lead a 15-member task force that would develop a master plan to address challenges related to long-term care and aging under a bill introduced Thursday by state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D).

“California’s aging population is growing quickly and living longer. Without adequate services and planning, many of our state’s older adults face a risk of becoming homeless or losing access to essential care,” Jackson said in a statement. “We cannot afford to leave our aging adults behind. California must step up and prepare for this rapidly growing population.”

If Senate Bill 228 becomes law, the aging czar and task force would examine and address system challenges to long-term care identified by the state Senate Select Committee on Aging and Long Term Care in a 2015 report titled “A Shattered System: Reforming Long-Term Care in California.” Those challenges, Jackson said, include system fragmentation, lack of access to services, workforce challenges and cultural competency, and infrastructure issues.

The master plan, she said, would have these preliminary goals:

  • Develop a culturally competent paraprofessional and professional workforce.
  • Prevent exploitation and abuse — financial or physical — of older adults.
  • Streamline state administrative structures to improve service delivery.
  • Expand access to coordinated, integrated systems of care.
  • Strengthen access to long-term services and supports.
  • Prepare families to plan and pay for LTSS.
  • Develop affordable housing options.
  • Support family caregivers.
  • Increase access to oral healthcare.
  • Enhance access to transportation.

The task force would include representation from consumers, healthcare, long-term services and supports, labor, transportation, housing, government and communities deemed to have been historically overlooked.