Because the 4th of July holiday falls on our regular meeting day, we have canceled our monthly meeting in July. Please join us for our next regular meeting on Thursday, August 1st at 5:15 p.m. at the IBEW Hall, 813 W. 12th Street, Juneau.Continue reading
Please consider testifying on Tuesday against substantial rate increases for our Pioneers Homes proposed by Republican Governor Dunleavy. The Dunleavy administration can raise rates through the regulation process and does not need legislative approval. The director of the division of Pioneer Homes says they are moving ahead with their proposal. Perhaps if they hear from enough of us they will back off these draconian price increases!
As stated in the link above, posted by Rep. Ivy Spohnholz and Rep. Zack Fields:
“If you or your loved ones will be impacted by the substantial rate increases proposed by the Department of Health & Social Services, please testify on May 28th between 1 pm and 4 pm at any Pioneer Home.
Be sure to sign up to testify before 2:30pm to testify in person. If you can’t attend in person you may call in to 1-888-227-5857 during the hearing or you can submit written testimony to email@example.com by June 28th.
Spread the word to your friends and loved ones!
Live testimony will be taken at all Pioneer Homes:
Anchorage Pioneer Home, 923 W 11th Ave., Anchorage
Fairbanks Pioneer Home, 2221 Eagan Ave., Fairbanks
Juneau Pioneer Home, 4675 Glacier Hwy., Juneau
Ketchikan Pioneer Home, 141 Bryant St., Ketchikan
Alaska Veterans and Pioneers Home, 250 E Fireweed Ave., Palmer
Sitka Pioneer Home, 120 Katlian St., Sitka…”
Please schedule time to go to the Pioneer Home and testify in person, or call in during the hearing.
According to an April 10, 2019 story by the Associated Press: [https://www.apnews.com/e7ae1a413d594e06b7fe55c648febb18]
“…The current, lowest-cost option, including housing, food, emergency help and events, costs $2,588 per month. It would rise to $3,623 monthly under the proposal.
The highest current level of care costs $6,795 per month. Under the state proposal, the most comprehensive level would cost $15,000 per month, though [director of the division of Pioneer Homes] Lasley has said Pioneer Homes typically don’t have many residents who would fall under that proposed new tier.
He said he saw that tier as filling a need in the community for such care and serving individuals with complex behaviors, such as combativeness or tendencies toward self-harm or wandering.
Under the state proposal, tiers in between, which range from limited assistance to 24-hour services, would range from $6,569 to $13,333 per month. The current middle tier costs $4,692 monthly….”
Anyone who has relatives or friends in the Pioneer Homes knows that most residents are in the higher tiers. The new tier mentioned is for residents who need even more care than provided in Tier III. Most current residents are advanced Alzheimer’s or other dementia patients.
The levels of care are spelled out in a November 2018 report by the Alaska Pioneer Homes Advisory Board:
“Level I: Provision of housing, meals, emergency assistance, and opportunities for recreation. Level I services do not include staff assistance with activities of daily living, medication administration, or health-related services, although the Pioneer Home pharmacy may supply prescribed medications.
Level II: Provision of housing, meals, emergency assistance, and, as stated in the resident’s assisted living plan, staff assistance, including assistance with activities of daily living, medication administration, recreation, and health-related services; assistance provided by a staff member includes supervision, reminders, and hands-on assistance, with the resident performing the majority of the effort; during the night shift, the resident is independent in performing activities of daily living and capable of self-supervision.
Level III: Provision of housing, meals, emergency assistance, and, as stated in the resident’s assisted living plan, staff assistance, including assistance with activities of daily living, medication administration, recreation, and health-related services; assistance provided by a staff member includes hands-on assistance, with the staff member performing the majority of the effort; the resident may receive assistance throughout a 24-hour day….”
In Juneau there are 5 residents in Level I care, 11 residents in Level II care, and 32 residents in Level III care. In Sitka there are 7 residents in Level I care, 24 residents in Level II care, and 34 residents in Level III care. In Ketchikan there is 1 resident in Level I care, 12 residents in Level II care, and 33 residents in Level III care.
There is much more information contained in the Advisory Board report. See the report (link provided below) for the numbers of residents in Anchorage, Palmer, and Fairbanks, as well as information about needed upgrades to the homes, and staffing issues.
Please make every effort to testify on this important bill. Because the Dunleavy administration can raise rates through the regulation process, we need to let them know in no uncertain terms, that we, as constituents, want reasonable Pioneer Home rates for our most vulnerable residents. Hope to see you there or hear you on the phone.
A demonstration will be held tomorrow, Tuesday, May 21st, at noon at the courtyard in front of the Dimond Courthouse, to protest abortion ban legislation that has been introduced in 15 states. This is a national day of action and demonstrations will be held in all 50 states.The Juneau demonstration is being organized by Samantha Cox and Alyson Currey. Currey is the legislative liaison for Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest and Hawaii. Cox is a local pro-choice advocate. Bring a sign of your own or get a pre-printed sign at the rally from Planned Parenthood.
Although the bill introduced in the Alaska Legislature by Rep. Eastman has no chance of passing (thank you Rep. Ivy Spohnholz!), we must be vigilant! As Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank stated in his op/ed column today, “…[Trump] rewarded pro-life advocates for their support with two new justices, vetted by the conservative Federalist Society, and likely an antiabortion majority on the high court. Now, pro-lifers are predictably testing to see how far they can go in reversing Roe v Wade….”
We must demonstrate that we will not go back, and we stand strong against attempts to gut Roe v. Wade. I hope to see you there!
In lieu of the Tongass Democrats’ regular monthly meeting, we will be holding an evening with former Rep. Les Gara (D-Anchorage). Rep. Gara served in the Alaska Legislature from 2002 until 2018, and was a great champion of children, most notably an advocate for foster care.
Rep. Gara wishes to thank the Tongass Democrats for their support over the years. When he left last year he was unsure whether he would run again, so he didn’t have a chance to say goodbye. In turn, the Tongass Democrats wish to thank Rep. Gara for his incredible work over the years.
Please mark your calendars for Thursday, May 2nd. We will meet at NEA Alaska’s conference room at 201 Main Street instead of our usual IBEW meeting place. The event will take place from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. and will feature a light dinner and beverages. Donations to the Tongass Democrats will be gratefully accepted.
Here is your legislative schedule for the rest of this week.
Of interest may be:
–A presentation tomorrow, Thursday, at noon on the importance of computer science in Alaska’s Schools, sponsored by Reps. Drummond and Story, Capitol room 106.
–A group of bills relating to the Alaska Permanent Fund (HB 139, HB 132, HJR 6, HJR 18) in House State Affairs, Gruenberg Room 120, Thursday at 3 p.m.
–A Senate Community & Regional Affairs Committee presentation on nuclear microreactors in Alaska, Thursday, 3:30 pm., Beltz Room 105, including Michael Pawlowski, Chief of Staff to U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski.
–Senate Finance will be working on the operating budget and the mental health budget on Friday and Saturday at 9 a.m. in Senate Finance room 532.
Here is your committee schedule for this week:
OTHER ITEMS OF INTEREST:
CLEAN UP DAY: This coming Saturday, April 20th, is Litter Free Clean Up Day in Juneau. The Tongass Democrats will meet at 10 a.m. at the Department of Labor parking lot (near the Douglas Bridge and the whale statute). Please join us! Bring heavy duty gloves and wear appropriate footwear and outerwear. We clean the highway section from DOL to the Prospector Hotel. Many hands make light work!
An evening with NPR’s journalist Lakshmi Singh. The event is Tuesday, April 23rd at the JACC. Cost is $25. Tickets are available at Brown Paper Tickets: https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/4189795
Don’t forget the Young Democrats Convention coming up on May 11 in Fairbanks. For further information check out: https://www.facebook.com/alaskayoungdemocrats/
DONATE! We are constantly working to build reserves for the next election cycle. If you would like to see reasonable people elected to the Alaska Legislature you can donate via the Tongass Democrats at P.O. Box 240961, Douglas, Alaska 99824.