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On Friday, I presented LB 849 to the Health and Human Services Committee. Family caregivers are a key part of a patient’s health care team. They assist their loved ones in a myriad of ways when that child or adult needs assistance due to a medical or behavioral condition, disability, or advanced age. In Nebraska almost 200,00 adults served as family caregivers in 2013. Just under half, or 46%, of these caregivers were asked to complete complex health tasks such as wound care, managing multiple medications, managing incontinence, and preparing foods for special diets. Most of these caregivers are tackling these tasks on their own. Nearly 70% of caregivers reported their loved ones did not have home visits by a healthcare professional. The ACT act ensures these family caregivers have the tools they need to keep their loved ones safe, healthy and in their homes as long as possible, avoiding hospital readmissions and postponing costly long-term care.
Currently, 18 states and Puerto Rico have enacted measures similar to the ACT act. Under the bill, patients will have an opportunity to designate a caregiver upon admission to the hospital and the caregiver can either accept or decline this designation. The hospital will then provide notice to the caregiver of the patient’s transfer or release from the hospital. The ACT bill requires that the discharge plan for the patient includes a description of any aftercare tasks as well as a demonstration of the aftercare tasks. As part of this process, the patient and caregiver will have the opportunity to ask any questions about the plan or the tasks themselves.
This legislation takes on increasing importance as the number of Nebraskans over the age of 65 is projected to grow from 247,000 to more than 404,000 and the number of Nebraskans 85 years and older will grow 75% over the next 20 years, according to a University of Nebraska at Omaha analysis. Many more Nebraskans will find themselves in the position of caring for aging family members and friends with chronic health conditions. We must ensure these family caregivers have the resources they need, both to improve health outcomes and ensure Nebraskans are able to stay in their own homes as long as possible.
Day 10: 2016 Crawford Legislative Agenda
Wednesday marked Day 10 and the end of bill introduction for the session. This year, I introduced 13 bills. Below is a short summary of the legislation I introduced this session; some of these bills will be featured in depth in future updates. A full listing of my legislative agenda can be found here: http://nebraskalegislature.gov/bills/search_by_introducer.php
This Week in Urban Affairs
Discussions in the Urban Affairs Committee next week will focus on statutes governing cities and villages in Nebraska. Of the four bills being heard by the committee next week, three relate in part to the subject of municipalities’ extraterritorial zoning jurisdiction, commonly referred to as the ETJ. A municipality’s ETJ consists of the contiguous unincorporated land within a certain radius of its corporate limits.
Municipalities have the authority to enforce certain ordinances and regulations within their ETJ, including subdivision regulations, zoning regulations, building codes, and nuisance ordinances. This is generally intended to ensure that infrastructure within the ETJ meets city standards, so that cities do not bear the cost of fixing substandard infrastructure upon annexation.
The size of a municipality’s ETJ varies according to the classification of the city or village. State law currently classifies Nebraska municipalities into five categories based on population: 1) cities of the metropolitan class (300,000 or more); 2) cities of the primary class (100,001 to 299,999); 3) cities of the first class (5,001 to 100,000); 4) cities of the second class (801 to 5,000); and villages (100 to 800). Cities of the metropolitan (i.e. Omaha) and primary (i.e. Lincoln) class have a three-mile ETJ, cities of the first class (i.e. Bellevue) have a two-mile ETJ; and cities of the second class (i.e. Springfield) and villages (i.e. Murray) have a one-mile ETJ.
Next week, the Urban Affairs Committee will hear four bills – three dealing with municipalities, and a fourth dealing with enterprise zones:
Sue in the News