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PATAKI DELIVERS HOLIDAY PRESENT AND
SIGNS TIMOTHY’S LAW - IT’S OFFICIAL…WE HAVE A
2:00 o’clock today, with the stroke of his pen, outgoing NYS
Governor George Pataki signed Timothy’s Law, making New York
the 38th state in the nation to enact mental health parity. Over
3.6 million New Yorkers and their loved ones and employers will
be well served by having a bill that ends the discrimination that
currently exists in insurance coverage for people with psychiatric
disabilities. In addition, all New Yorkers will be well served by
ending this stigmatizing practice and treating mental illness the
same as physical illness.
praise Governor Pataki for signing this bill into law. This ten
day campaign which started after the Assembly passage on December
13th was actually more like a ten year journey for many of us. But
this ten day campaign was a microcosm of the success of this entire
year which was generated by the leadership of Tom O’Clair
and the grassroots efforts of the Timothy’s Law Campaign across
the state. The grassroots effort was able to galvanize thousands
of phone calls, e-mails and faxes to the Governor’s office.
We were also able to help get phone calls to the Governor from his
close friends and colleagues who are supportive of parity. We were
able to get editorial support from newspapers throughout the state
and finally there was a small, core group of us who were a constant
presence at the Capitol throughout this ten day period, as we were
throughout this legislative session. All these pieces played a role
in the Governor’s signing of this bill. Ultimately though,
it was a courageous young man by the name of Timothy O’Clair
who inspired his parents and all of us to fight for insurance parity
in New York State. We would also like to thank the New York State
Office of Mental Health, State Insurance Department and Division
of the Budget for providing us with the opportunity to make the
case for Timothy’s Law.
are so many people to thank who helped lead the way over the years
in this marathon. This movement was led by the Tom And Donna O’Clair
and would have never happened without them. MHANYS is honored to
have Tom O’Clair on the Board of Directors. This would not
have happened with out the willingness of Governor Pataki to sign
this bill into law and we praise him for leaving office with a legacy
in mental health that will have an impact for many years to come.
must also thank our indefatigable and tireless Assembly sponsor
Paul Tonko who served as an inspiration to all of us as a true leader
in making Timothy’s Law happen. We also thank NYS Assembly
Speaker Sheldon Silver, Assemblyman Peter Grannis, Assemblyman Peter
Rivera and Assembly Minority Leader Jim Tedisco for their leadership
in making Timothy’s Law happen. We would also like to acknowledge
the work of former-Assemblyman Steven Sanders for introducing the
first parity bill, and to Assemblyman Jim Brennan and former-Assemblyman
Marty Luster, for being our early leaders on parity.
the Senate side, we thank the leadership of Senate sponsor Thomas
Libous for his leadership and tireless efforts in making this bill
happen. This bill would never have happened in the Senate without
his vision. We thank NYS Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno and
Senate Mental Health Committee Chair Thomas Morahan for their strong
support of this legislation. In addition, David Paterson, the soon-to-be
former NYS Senate Minority Leader and soon-to-be Lieutenant Governor,
and Senator Thomas Duane, who have been major supporters and true
leaders in the fight for Timothy’s Law.
are also thankful to the Senate, Assembly and Governor’s staffs
who worked with us every day (some for many years) to make Timothy’s
law a reality. Without their work on the staff level, this bill
would never have become law.
are so many folks in the Timothy’s Law Campaign who deserve
praise for their efforts. This was truly a team effort. Of course,
we have to start with the vision and courage of the O’Clair
family to step forward to share their personal story. Tom’s
courage and spirit embodied the movement. All of us worked hard
and put our heart and soul into this effort but no one worked harder
or demanded more of himself than Tom.
are so many other organizations to praise for their great work,
such as Families Together in New York State, New York State Psychiatric
Association, Coalition for the Homeless, Malkin and Ross, NAMI-NYS,
NYS Rehabilitation Association, Schuyler Center for Analysis and
Advocacy, NYAPRS, New York Association on Independent Living, NASW-NYS
Chapter, Alcohol and Substance Abuse Providers of NYS, American
Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Medical Society of the State
of NY, NYS Catholic Conference, NYS Parent-Teacher Association,
NYS Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare, Long Island Recovery
Advocates, and the New York State Psychological Association,
someone who has fought the parity battle for a long time, we are
also indebted to the early leadership of this movement, back in
the early 90’s when Roy Neville, Muriel Shepherd and Jerry
Klein of NAMI were among the few people talking about this issue.
They along with Richard Gallo were the true early leaders in this
would also like to acknowledge the major role that MHANYS has played
over the years. First and foremost by Tom O’Clair, as a Member
of our Board of Directors. Also, through the work of Susan Wheeler,
MHANYS Board Member and chair of ‘Small Businesses for Timothy’s
Law,’ Sylvia Lask, the former MHANYS Governmental Affairs
Chair through her work on the MHANYS Board and the NYS Boards of
Visitors. I also know through e-mails and phone conversations of
the strong role played by other MHANYS Board Members and MHA affiliates
in fighting for Timothy’s Law.
CEO Joe Glazer was instrumental in raising the visibility of this
issue beyond the scope of just the mental health community. He dedicated
much of his time and effort to making this law become a reality
as did several other former MHANYS staff like Bryan O’Malley,
Eva Walters, Renee Benson, Cindy Myer and Helen Weltin. Leila Salmon
deserves a great deal of credit for her early advocacy while at
MHANYS in helping to identify mental health parity as a major issue
for the organization. Additional thanks are due to Kilakwa Associates’
for the generous donation of their services to make the Timothy’s
Law website a reality.
to the countless others who have helped in a variety of ways over
the many years working toward this moment – I thank you from
the bottom of my heart.
of the true leaders of this movement is MHANYS Public Policy Director,
Michael Seereiter, who worked tirelessly behind the scenes to make
Timothy’s Law a reality. He put in an enormous amount of hours
in to help make the many rallies across the state this year successful.
He also was responsible for many of the positive editorials and
media coverage about Timothy’s Law. I truly believe that Timothy’
Law would not have happened without Michael’s dedication to
although we know this bill is not everything we wanted, it is a
quantum leap from what we had in the past. I feel very good about
how this has all played out. I have been lucky to participate in
the early years of the movement and now to be back in a position
to have been helpful in making this bill come to fruition. This
is a great day for New Yorkers with psychiatric disabilities.
we have to thank Timothy O’Clair for making today a reality.
Through his short life, he has served as an inspiration to thousands
of New Yorkers. Because of him and his family, New York State has
a law that will save the lives of countless New Yorkers and erase
the many years of discrimination against people with mental illness.
This is the greatest legacy of all. God bless you Timothy.
PATAKI’S PRESS RELEASE:
PATAKI SIGNS LEGISLATION ENACTING TIMOTHY’S LAW
New Law Requires Health Insurance Policy to Provide
Coverage to Adults and Children with Mental Illness
George E. Pataki today signed legislation to enact Timothy’s
Law, which will require insurance companies to provide coverage
for individuals with mental illnesses.
The new law is named after Timothy O’Clair, a 12-year old
boy from Schenectady County who had an emotional disorder, but was
unable to obtain mental health services under his parent’s
health insurance coverage. Timothy completed suicide in March 2001.
is vital that our society take care of those in need, especially
our most vulnerable children,” Governor Pataki said. “Timothy’s
Law is an important step to ensure that mental health services are
accessible to all individuals and families, so that they can receive
beneficial assistance and treatment for mental illnesses. Insurance
coverage serves as a safety net and with this new law, we have extended
this protection to children and families across the State.
commend the efforts of Tom and Donna O’Clair in helping to
get this law enacted. Sharing their experiences and sense of loss
was no doubt a difficult task, but through their tireless work and
the support of numerous groups and individuals, individuals with
mental illnesses will benefit,” the Governor added.
Tom O’Clair, Timothy’s father, said, “On behalf
of my family and myself I wish to thank the Governor, the Leaders,
and the entire Legislature and staff for their efforts that have
made this day possible. I have maintained throughout this effort
that this is Timothy’s work. With the timeless efforts of
the advocates and supporters, and in Timothy’s name, New York
can join some 39 other states in ending the discrimination facing
mental illness. What a wonderful way for New Yorkers to celebrate
Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno said, “Today is a dramatic
step forward for those who suffer from mental illness, and a tremendous
victory for families throughout New York. I applaud Tom and Donna
O’Clair, who have courageously advocated on behalf of this
legislation since the loss of their son over five years ago. I thank
Governor Pataki for signing this bill today and also Senators Tom
Libous and Tom Morahan for their hard work on behalf of Timothy’s
Law in the Senate.”
Senator Thomas W. Libous said, “We’ve worked for years
to help provide needed insurance coverage to families to prevent
future tragedies like Timothy O’Clair’s. I applaud Governor
Pataki, Assemblyman Tonko, the O’Clair Family and the many
other advocates who fought to get this important compromise bill
Assemblyman Paul D. Tonko, who was the lead sponsor of the legislation
in the Assembly, said, “The Governor’s approval formally
brings to an end a long fought battle to end discrimination. Timothy’s
Law is a victory for working families who require access to and
affordability of mental health services. The determination and perseverance
of the O’Clair family and their colleagues of the Timothy’s
Law Coalition are proof positive that grassroots efforts can inspire
fair and just public policy.”
Senator Thomas P. Morahan said, “I am delighted that the Governor
is signing Timothy’s Law. This landmark legislation will put
mental health treatment on parity with other physical illnesses.
As Chairman of the Mental Health Committee and on behalf of the
mental health community, I congratulate and thank Governor Pataki.”
Under this new law, which takes effect January 1, 2007, health insurance
providers are required to provide comparable insurance coverage
for mental illnesses (“parity”) as the policies provide
for other medical care. This will allow adults and children with
biologically-based mental illnesses to receive the same health care
coverage benefits as those provided for other physical ailments.
In a calendar year, the coverage must include at least 30 days of
active inpatient (hospital) care, and at least 20 days of active
treatment in a facility operated by the State Office of Mental Health
(OMH), a psychiatrist or psychologist licensed to practice in New
York, or a university faculty practice corporation. The cost of
any premiums and deductibles must be consistent with those imposed
for other benefits available under the insurance policy.
Insurance coverage for businesses with 50 or more employees must
include treatment for schizophrenia/psychotic disorders, major depression,
obsessive compulsive disorders, bulimia, anorexia, serious cases
of attention deficit disorders in children, disruptive disorders,
or pervasive development disorders. In addition, children under
18 years of age are eligible for coverage if they have serious suicidal
symptoms or other life-threatening self-destructive behaviors, significant
psychotic symptoms, behavior causes by emotional disturbance that
place the child at risk of causing personal injury or significant
property damage, or behavior caused by emotional disturbances that
place the child at substantial risk of removal from the household.
A group insurance purchaser with 50 or fewer employees, such as
a small business, will be required to make the parity benefits coverage
for mental health services available for purchase upon request.
In addition, the law seeks to offset the additional costs that may
be placed on such groups by directing the Superintendent of the
State Insurance Department to develop and implement a plan to fully
cover the costs for these small group insurance purchasers, which
will be financed through the State General Fund.
Richard M. Peer, MD, President of the Medical Society of the State
of New York, said, “Together Governor Pataki, Senator Bruno,
and Speaker Silver have established protections which will ensure
that New Yorker’s living with mental illness will receive
the care and treatment necessary to address the needs of their medical
condition, regardless of whether an insurer considers that condition
to be ‘physical’ or ‘mental.’”
OMH Commissioner Sharon E. Carpinello, RN, PhD, said, “Today,
we celebrate the life of Timothy O’Clair with the enactment
of Timothy’s Law. Building on the unprecedented ‘Achieving
the Promise for New York’s Children and Families,’ mental
health parity promotes wellness for all New Yorkers. Early intervention
and treatment are critical in reducing the disabling and costly
effects of serious mental illness for individuals and families.
Mental health parity is a significant step in ensuring that children
and adults with mental illness have access to the services and supports
they need. Recovery from mental illness is possible and does occur.
This legislation is another important step forward in helping reduce
the stigma and discrimination associated with mental illness.”
Insurance Superintendent Howard Mills said, “This is another
in a series of far-reaching steps by Governor Pataki and the legislature
to ensure all New Yorkers, and most especially children, have the
security of knowing they have health insurance on which they can
always depend. The Insurance Department will immediately begin work
to fulfill the Governor’s mandate to eliminate any financial
impact on small groups.”
The $62 million “Achieving the Promise for New York’s
Children and Families” initiative is the single largest investment
in new children’s mental health services in New York State
history. The initiative consists of a highly interrelated series
of fundamental changes in the ways that services are provided, the
means through which services are accessed, and profound improvements
in clinical quality. Among the programs being funded are: $33 million
for the Child and Family Clinic-Plus program, which provides screening
and early intervention services for nearly 400,000 children each
year; $21.5 million to create 450 new opportunities in the Home
and Community-Based Waiver Program, which allows children to be
served each year in their homes and with their families; and $450,000
for rural telepsychiatry, expanding access to comprehensive evaluations
and consultations in rural health areas.
Timothy’s law would sunset on January 31, 2009.
Timothy's Law - The mentally ill deserve equal access to insurance
Syracuse Post-Standard, Editorial, December 21,
this season where compassion should come easily, Gov. George Pataki
should demonstrate his by signing legislation that would make Timothy's
Law a reality.
legislation represents the only good thing to have come out of Albany's
session-to-nowhere last week.
law is named after Timothy O'Clair, the 12-year-old who committed
suicide in 2001. He might be alive today had he been able to get
the treatment he desperately needed - which was not fully covered
under his parents' health insurance. They even gave up custody of
the boy in hopes the state would take care of him. But time ran
father, Tom, who is keeping vigil outside Pataki's office, has fought
a long fight to get the legislation passed in the hopes that other
children or adults would not suffer the fate of his son.
much wrangling and pressure from business groups opposed to the
law, the Senate finally passed a bill in September. The Assembly,
which has steadfastly backed the legislation, passed the bill in
last week's special session. Among its provisions are full coverage
for schizophrenia/psychotic disorders, bipolar, panic and delusional
disorders, and conditions such as anorexia and bulimia.
importantly, it includes coverage for children under 18 who suffer
from the disruptive behavior disorders that affected Timothy.
major objection to Timothy's Law has centered around costs. Business
groups have complained that providing mental health coverage will
hurt businesses, especially small ones. The SSA, an Albany-based
business group, is calling for Pataki to veto the legislation. The
group says such mandates put an unfair burden on businesses.
such a stance suggests that people suffering from mental illness
are not worthy of the same kind of health coverage that is provided
for physical illness.
the legislation calls for the state Insurance Department to come
up with a formula so that businesses with 50 or fewer people will
be protected. It also includes a provision that would require the
department and the Office of Mental Health to conduct a study to
determine the impact of the legislation after two years.
Price Waterhouse study found that the coverage would cost less than
$20 more per person, and that businesses in states with mental health
coverage had not been adversely affected.
if the care is not cheap, will the state decide that the mentally
ill are not worth the cost?
Pataki should sign Timothy's Law. Otherwise, New York would be a
state that is willing to provide insurance coverage for a broken
leg, but not a tortured soul.
Mentally Ill Catch a Break - Pataki should sign bill providing
parity in health insurance coverage.
Buffalo News, Editorial, December 20, 2006
a recent do-nothing legislative session, the Assembly did something
right by approving Timothy's Law for parity-based mental health
and chemical dependency insurance.
outgoing Gov. George E. Pataki must act quickly and sign it into
and more comprehensive versions of the legislation had passed the
Assembly, though the latest incarnation had yet to gain approval.
With compromises woven in, the Senate passed Timothy's Law in September,
the first time they had passed the bill. And so did the Assembly.
law creates a mental-health benefits structure composed of two mandates
for large employers and a subsidized mandate paired with a "subscriber
option" for the same coverage for groups with 50 or fewer employees.
employers that offer health insurance and are not exempt under federal
or state law will have to provide broad-based mental-health coverage
including at least 20 outpatient days and 30 inpatient days, with
co-payments and deductibles comparable to those used for physical
ailments. This represents the financial parity that so many had
are virtually nonexistent and there are significant provisions for
the care of children.
a lame-duck governor chooses within the next few days to sign this
piece of legislation, New York will be able to remove itself as
one of the few states that does not mandate mental-health insurance
states have amended, strengthened and improved upon mental-health
parity legislation, rather than rolling back progress on such vital
protections. Fears about cost increases for businesses have been
unfounded, according to experts. Of course, there's always going
to be someone available to dispute anecdotal evidence.
legislation is pro-family, a point an ambitious governor considering
a run for president should consider. Pataki should attach his signature
to Timothy's Law as one of his final and most conscientious actions
Pataki Must OK Timothy's Law
Poughkeepsie Journal, Editorial, December 19,
mental illnesses the same as physical ailments when it comes to
insurance coverage in New York is long overdue. The state Assembly
last week finally approved a compromise bill that brings parity
to how mental health issues are treated by insurers. Now Gov. George
Pataki needs to sign this vital legislation and ensure those already
suffering don’t have their problems compounded by struggling
to get adequate coverage.
The bill, known as Timothy’s Law, requires insurance coverage
for mental illness and other health problems be on par with each
other. Private insurance policies in New York limit coverage provided
for mental health and substance abuse services or require additional
co-payments from the insured. Concerns the law could place an undue
burden on small business owners have been addressed, in a compromise
the Assembly and Senate reached in June. The Senate approved the
bill at a special session in September. Lawmakers agreed on protections
for companies with fewer than 50 employees by having the state absorb
any increases in premiums.
supporters of the plan expect the cost of providing expanded coverage
will be more than offset by savings from a reduction in lost productivity
and expensive crisis care.
bill requires companies offering health insurance to include 30
patient visits and 20 outpatient visits for mental health care.
Co-payments must be comparable with the rest of the plan. Currently,
some mental health care includes a co-pay of more than $50 each
visit, while traditional physician co-pays run about $15 a visit.
Additionally, companies with more than 50 workers would cover necessary
treatment of major disorders — illnesses such as major depression
and panic disorders, among others — above and beyond the 30
patient and 20 outpatient visits. Small businesses would have the
option of purchasing this additional coverage.
The law is set to expire three years after it’s enacted and
requires a cost analysis by the state Insurance Department.
The bill gets its name from Timothy O’Clair of Schenectady,
who hanged himself at age 12 after suffering for years from mental
illness. His parents struggled to find the proper treatment and
services for their son. They even took the difficult step of relinquishing
custody to get their son’s treatment paid for by Medicaid,
unable to afford the costly care on their own.
Like many important issues in Albany, this one has taken a long
time to bring to fruition. A Pataki veto could delay this needed
change indefinitely. Having the entire Legislature up for election
this year no doubt had a role in the compromise being reached. And
there’s no guarantee lawmakers would quickly approve the bill
again next year, with just about everything subject to the horse-trading
that takes place in Albany.
Pataki needs to sign this crucial law immediately and help those
burdened by mental illness get the treatment they need and deserve.
Pataki Bumps to the Finish - Special legislative session
he called produces nothing but Timothy's Law.
Newsday, Editorial, December 19, 2006
a couple of years of incremental improvement, Albany recently reminded
its critics how the state's legislative process earned its distinction
as the nation's most dysfunctional. Last week's special session
accomplished little beyond restoring an unhealthy measure of public
a fitting end to the era of Gov. George Pataki. The only thing consistent
about his 12-year tenure, which comes to a close New Year's Eve,
was its inconsistency of energy, vision and, ultimately, accomplishment.
Like the special session, Pataki got some things right, some wrong
and left too much undone, because he either didn't work hard enough
or misjudged the opposition in both parties.
week, Pataki threw too much at lawmakers, seeking to burnish his
legacy, and misread what he could get from them by dangling a pay
raise, which the legislature sidestepped.
Lawmakers did get one thing right. The Assembly, following up on
a vote by the Senate, approved a landmark bill to require insurers
to cover mental illnesses at the same level as other medical maladies.
Called Timothy's Law, for an adolescent who killed himself after
his family was unable to pay for health care for his mental problems,
it would end discrimination in medical coverage that denies thousands
of people adequate care.
The mental-health parity bill represents a broad political and ideological
compromise. Parity with other coverage, which many states require,
has had little impact on insurance premiums, but it benefits business
and government by cutting absenteeism and keeping people off public
assistance. Pataki should sign it.
It's too bad, however, that Pataki won't be able to authorize creation
of more charter schools. Assembly Democrats wrongheadedly blocked
that. But it's good the Assembly wouldn't authorize civil confinement
for sexual predators after they serve a prison sentence. Society
must come to grips with the threat of repeat offenders, but the
issues are complex and the proposal approved by Republicans needs
a lot of work.
Not a Total Waste ...
Middletown Times Herald Record, Editorial, December
OK, we got that rant out about the three-men-in-a room government,
and it is sincere, but legislators did manage one positive accomplishment
last week. The Assembly approved a bill that would require insurance
companies to provide coverage for a range of mental illnesses, notably
those related to children, on par with other health-care coverage.
It is a long-overdue step forward in health care in the state. The
Senate has already passed the bill and Gov. Pataki has until Dec.
26 to sign it. He should do so now.
The bill is called Timothy's Law. It is named after Timothy O'Clair,
the 12-year-old from Schenectady who committed suicide in 2001 after
his parents had surrendered custody of him because their health
insurance would not cover treatment for his depression and they
could not afford it. His father has lobbied for the bill since then.
The arguments for it are simple. Mental illnesses can be just as
debilitating as physical illnesses and are responsible for the loss
of billions of dollars in worker productivity. Moreover, most of
the illnesses are diagnosable and treatable, with many of them having
a biological cause. Good health must include mental health.
The argument against the parity bill is the usual one — cost,
especially to employers. But in 35 states that have passed similar
laws, there has been only a slight increase (1 percent in California)
in premiums. Federal workers also receive such coverage. New York
has been negligent on this for far too long.
When Doing Nothing Is Better
The New York Times, Editorial, December 16, 2006
George Pataki is a man in a hurry. After 12 years in office and
about two weeks before he moves on — possibly to campaign
for the White House — Mr. Pataki is eager for more conservative
ribbons on his lapel. But after he called a special legislative
session this week, New York’s Legislature, never known for
speed, moved into its slowest gear.
fact, almost nothing of consequence happened, which in this case
was real progress. The consolidation of state hospitals remained
intact. There were no pay raises for legislators who have not done
enough to deserve them. Legislation that might have zipped from
rough draft into final (and faulty) law got slowed down so the public,
most lawmakers and even the insiders will now have time to consider
The governor was angling mainly for an ill-conceived bill to extend
civil confinement for sexual predators, beyond their prison terms.
He also wanted authorization for 200 more charter schools, an expansion
that could hurt some public schools, especially upstate. Mr. Pataki’s
parting wish list also included the approval of up to 400 appointments
to a variety of boards and authorities across the state. Unfortunately,
he got those, a send-off from the State Senate, which approves gubernatorial
appointments and is controlled by fellow Republicans. Mr. Pataki
indignantly blamed Democrats and, particularly, Assembly Speaker
Sheldon Silver for the empty session. Perhaps sharpening his skills
for the national political stage, he suggested that if a sexual
predator gets out of jail and harms anybody, it will be thanks to
Mr. Silver’s “political failure.” And Mr. Pataki
made it sound as though the Democrats were holding up this four-star,
all-American legislation simply because they wanted a pay raise.
Of course, they all want a pay raise, including the Republicans.
But Mr. Silver insisted the real reason for the delay is that he
would rather wait for the arrival of the new Democratic governor,
Eliot Spitzer, than rush to grant a lame duck governor’s departing
will certainly be a different political mix starting Jan. 1. But
we always need our legislators to take the time to do their work
carefully — and, we hope, more openly. So at this point, this
do-nothing session in Albany turned out to be the right thing to
Timothy's Law Vigil
Excerpt from Syracuse Post-Standard, Albany Notebook,
December 20, 2006
By Erik Kriss
father of the boy after whom Timothy's Law is named is keeping a
candlelight vigil this week outside Gov. George Pataki's Capitol
office as Pataki decides whether to sign the bill.
O'Clair has been advocating for Timothy's Law since his youngest
son committed suicide in 2001 at the age of 12.
bill on Pataki's desk would require insurers to cover mental health
largely to the same degree they must cover physical ailments.
small-business group SSA is urging Pataki to veto the bill, saying
its requirement that the state subsidize the cost of the new mandates
on businesses with 50 or fewer employees is not defined and will
amount to a tax. Pataki has until Tuesday to act.
Bush Signs Ferguson's Respite Care Bill
Newsday, December 21, 2006
(AP) _ President Bush on Thursday signed a bill making it easier
for the estimated 50 million families caring at home for adults
and children with special needs to find respite care.
Lifespan Respite Care Act provides $289 million over five years
for states to train volunteers and provide other services to families.
Respite care can come in many forms, from tutoring autistic children
to helping feed and dress an elderly parent to transporting someone
to a doctor's appointment.
legislation was sponsored in the House by New Jersey Rep. Mike Ferguson.
"This important law not only recognizes the selfless sacrifices
made by millions of family caregivers but also sends them an important
message _ help is on the way," Ferguson, a Republican from
Warren County, said after Bush signed the bill during an Oval Office
gained firsthand experience with respite care when his father, Thomas,
quit his job to care for his ailing wife after she was diagnosed
with cancer. Roberta Ferguson died in 2003 after battling multiple
myeloma for six years.