Consumer Corps Participates in Legislative Visits
Participants in PASC’s Consumer Corps attended meetings with eleven legislators in districts throughout Los Angeles County on Friday, May 17,2013. Joining with members of the California Alliance for Retired Americans (CARA) for their annual day of district meetings with legislators, Consumer Corps participants connected with CARA’s agenda which included discussing AB 707, which allows local funding for senior speed zones near senior centers, meal sites, and health care facilities; and SB 727 which requires drug manufacturers to have programs for safe, convenient acceptance and disposal of unneeded medicines at the manufacturer’s expense.
Consumer Corps participants had an IHSS-specific agenda including introducing themselves to their legislator and beginning to develop a relationship with him/her. The Consumer Corps participant’s message was simple: “I am an In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) consumer and I want you to know me. I want you to think about me when you are making decisions that affect IHSS. Your decisions affect me and my care and I want you to remember me when you are voting on funding and changes to IHSS.”
Consumer Corps participants also reminded their legislator that the new managed care program, Cal MediConnect, is complicated and overwhelming, and consumers are counting on their legislators to slow the process down so that good oversight and consumer protection can happen.
The meetings included up to fifteen people and the participants were enthusiastic about their experience!
Mike Saunders, a Consumer Corps participant from Torrance, who met with Assembly Member Maratsuchi, said “I’d like to do this again and I like keeping in the loop on these issues!”
Randi Bardeaux, a Consumer Corps participant from Lancaster, who coordinated a meeting with Senator Knight with thirteen people including several Consumer Corps participants, said “Many of these people didn’t even know who their State Senator is, and none of them had ever visited or spoken to an elected official before. They thoroughly enjoyed the experience and learned how accessible our legislators are. They (Consumer Corps participants) understand it’s their duty and obligation to voice their opinions to our elected officials. They can hardly wait to do it again!”
Eddie Sierra, Consumer Corps participant from Walnut Park, who met with Senator Price, said, “This was a good experience and I now have good contact in this office – when do we do this again?”
As changes in IHSS, like Cal MediConnect and the Coordinated Care Initiative, continue to challenge recipients, meetings like these are increasingly important and the Consumer Corps is excited about staying “in the loop” on these issues.