HB139 Formally Includes Caregivers in Process When Loved One is Hospitalized
Santa Fe – Gov. Susana Martinez Friday signed House Bill 139, lay caregiver training, also known as the CARE Act. The new law gives family caregivers a more formal voice and inclusion in the care of their loved one when that individual is checked into the hospital. The law goes into effect June 19, 2015.
House Bill 139, sponsored by Rep. Tomás Salazar, and Rep. Deborah Armstrong, asks hospitals to formally designate a family caregiver in the medical record when a patient is admitted; notify that caregiver when the patient is discharged or transferred to another facility; and provide education about any medical or nursing tasks that the caregiver must perform once the patient is discharged.
“This new law will ensure that family caregivers are a recognized part of the process when their loved one is hospitalized,” said Gene Varela, AARP New Mexico State Director. “It ensures that the person who will actually be responsible for providing care is the individual receiving all the pertinent information.”
“AARP New Mexico wants to thank Gov. Martinez for recognizing the importance of giving family caregivers a more formal role in the hospitalization process and signing HB139 into law,” Varela said.
“While House Bill 139 gives family caregivers extra support when their loved one is hospitalized, we know this is just one step in getting family caregivers the resources and assistance they need. The New Mexico Family Caregivers Task Force is working diligently on coming up with a number of additional recommendations on what other measures are needed to make the important care family caregivers provide easier,” he said.
The New Mexico Family Caregivers Task Force, established last year through House Joint Memorial 4, is working on recommendations for a state family caregiver plan. The task force hopes to have those recommendations to the Governor later this spring.
“Family caregivers provide a tremendous service – a service that amounts to $3.1 billion each year with 419,000 New Mexicans performing some type of caregiving activity throughout the year. Often people don’t think twice about the care they are providing. They are simply taking care of a loved one because it’s the right thing to do,” Varela said.
“AARP New Mexico would also like to thank Rep. Salazar and Rep. Armstrong for sponsoring this bill and Sen. Michael Padilla, for steering HB139 through the Senate, and their work in getting it through the legislative process,” he said.
For more information on HB139 and the work AARP New Mexico is doing on caregiving visit www.AARP.org/nm. To share your own caregiving stories or comment on the bill e-mail AARP New Mexico at NMAARP@aarp.org.
(Photo: Rep. Tomas Salazar, Rep. Deborah Armstrong and Sen. Michael Padilla)