Rep. Armstrong Introduces Care Act



Armstrong Pre-files Bill to Recognize, Support Family Caregivers

Care Act Co-Sponsored with Rep. Tomás Salazar


Rep.-elect Deborah Armstrong, along with Rep. Tomás Salazar, announced Saturday that they had pre-filed HB 139, The Care Act, a bill that will help family members better care for their sick relatives – and recognize the critical role that family caregivers play in helping patients recover.


Specifically, The Care Act ensures that a designated family caregiver is added to the medical record as soon as a patient is admitted to the hospital; that the caregiver is notified when the patient is discharged or transferred; and that the caregiver learns about the medical and nursing tasks that they will need to perform after their loved one is discharged.


“It makes sense to bring the person who is providing day-to-day care for a loved one  -- and who will largely be responsible for ensuring a patient’s speedy recovery -- formally into the process,” said Armstrong, who previously served as Secretary of the New Mexico Aging and Long-Term Services Department. “The Care Act gives family caregivers a real voice in the care their loved on receives.”


Currently 419,000 New Mexicans a year are responsible for caring for a loved one. While that work often goes unrecognized, it has a huge impact on patient recovery and cost savings, according to Gene Varela, New Mexico AARP State Director, whose organization supports The Care Act.


“At AARP, we believe it is not only time to recognize the support that family caregivers provide but to put more resources in their hands to make these tasks easier,” Varela said. “People don’t realize the impact family caregivers have. It not only keeps people out of costly nursing homes, but the value of that care amounts to $3.1 billion each year.”


After having been pre-filed on Friday, The Care Act will be assigned to committees after the official start of the Legislative Session on Tuesday, January 20.




About Rep. Armstrong: Debbie is a long-time health care advocate. Having started her career as a physical therapist, she has worked extensively as a health care administrator, working 10 years with Presbyterian Medical Services in Santa Fe. Prior to serving as Secretary of New Mexico’s Aging and Long-Terms Services Department, she oversaw the department’s Consumer and Elder Rights Director. Debbie is the mother of three adult children. She lives in Albuquerque’s North Valley and has played an active role in caring for her own mother.  Follow her on Twitter @NMRepArmstrong and on Facebook, and sign up for email and text updates.

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