San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

September 29th, 2009
Rose awarded as 'visionary'

Representatives of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society present Patrick Rose (center) with its  “Texas Visionary” award.

STAFF REPORT

State Representative Patrick Rose (D-Dripping Springs) teamed with State Senator Kirk Watson (D-Austin), in sponsoring legislation, SB 271,  that will ensure public awareness regarding the role of informal caregivers, including efforts to raise awareness of support services available to family caregivers in Texas.

There are approximately 2.7 million informal caregivers in Texas. Informal caregivers are family members and friends who provide unpaid care to persons who desire to remain in their homes but need assistance with daily activities to do so.

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society presented Rose with its “Texas Visionary” award at a ceremony in his district office on Sept. 15th because of his efforts on their behalf.

“My sister has Multiple Sclerosis (MS),” MS activist Linda Coker said. “Her husband is her caregiver. Sometimes he needs help to care for her. This bill will require the state to do more to make sure families like mine know what services are available to help us. There are many people like my sister who need a little help to stay in their homes rather than a nursing home. I want to thank Rep. Rose for choosing to put his effort into this bill. It’s going to make a difference for many Texans.”

The legislation (SB 271) plays an important role in sustaining the informal care system and helps to curtail future Medicaid institutional spending by the state. Identifying and meeting the needs of informal caregivers often determines whether a care recipient can remain at home rather than enter an institutional setting.

“Studies show that providing these services to family caregivers of persons with chronic health conditions will allow many of them to avoid institutional placement, thereby keeping families together while saving the state money,” explained Kim Suiter, Vice President of Government Affairs for the MS Society. “Ensuring adequate outreach to these families is a very important step.”

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