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For immediate release: April 25, 2005
Contact: Dale Bell 310-828-2966

“And Thou Shalt Honor National Caregiving Town Hall Meeting,” a one-hour PBS special airing in July 2005, gets lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to address the pressing concerns of an aging nation faced with unprecedented healthcare needs

“The entire system is in need of reform… isn’t it smarter, better, more reflective of our values to help keep people at home if that’s their choice and to support families in doing that.” Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, (D-NY)

“I’m an advocate for refundable tax credits for low-income people to buy health insurance. I’m an advocate for tax deduction for people who can afford health insurance who might not buy it so they can have it, and I’m also an advocate for the fine tuning of health care.” Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa)

It’s time we ended the institutional bias in Medicaid…when you give Medicaid beneficiaries control over how they get their long term care service… we get better outcomes, have lower cost, and can reach more people. It just makes sense.” Dr. Mark McClellan, Director, CMS

“And we say ‘honor your father and your mother.’ You should put it in the federal checkbook, and you should put it in the community.” Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-Maryland)

“The 2005 White House Conference on Aging really has a responsibility to look ahead…We can be the spokespersons, if you will, for the policies that are needed in this country to prepare for the 78 million baby boomers coming along.” Dorcas Hardy, Chairwoman, 2005 WHCoA

Los Angeles, Ca.— In celebration of the 40th anniversary of the signing of the Older Americans Act in 1965, Dale Bell, executive producer with Harry Wiland, of the 2002 And Thou Shalt Honor PBS caregiving outreach project, went to Washington to put the plight of America’s family caregivers on the national agenda. He brought his cameras into the offices of six senators, three members of the House of Representatives, one governor, the Administration’s Medicare and Medicaid Director, and key caregiving and aging experts.

In frank, one-on-one interviews with these Washington leaders, Bell presses for answers on issues that have daily impact on family caregivers and their loved ones including Medicaid and Medicare reform, the viability of private-public partnerships, universal healthcare, long-term care insurance, direct pay to family caregivers, reverse mortgages, and tax incentives to prepare the nation for longevity. Will the Sandwich Generation be forced to choose between caring for their aging parents and supporting their own children’s education? Can the nation’s elected representatives muster the bipartisan political will to pass caregiver-friendly legislation currently before Congress? Interviewees take a stand on reauthorizing the National Family Caregivers Support Program, and share their visions for the upcoming White House Conference on Aging.

This PBS special is uniquely edited to highlight the real questions raised by participants in a series of nine local Caregiving Town Hall Meetings produced by Wiland-Bell and broadcast on PBS through 14 states over the past two years. Responding to these citizen concerns are Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-New York), Senator Kit Bond (R-Missouri), Senator Barbara Boxer (D-California), Senator Larry Craig (R-Idaho), Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-Maryland), Governor Dirk Kempthorne (R-Idaho), House Members Pete Stark (D-CA), Nancy Johnson (R-CT), Stephanie Tubbs-Jones (D-OH), Dr. Mark McClellan (Administrator of CMS), Gail Gibson Hunt (President of the National Alliance for Caregiving), Suzanne Mintz (President of the National Family Caregivers Association), and Robert Blancato (President of Matz, Blancato & Associates). Dr. Bill Thomas, founder of the Eden Alternative and the GreenHouse Project, is also featured in the program. The roots of the current dilemma in caregiving and healthcare are examined through a historical lens with archival footage of Presidents Clinton, Reagan, Johnson, and Truman.

And Thou Shalt Honor National Caregiving Town Hall Meeting will be fed to PBS stations in mid-June. Wiland-Bell Productions hopes that all PBS stations will broadcast the program on or before July 14, as part of their look at how the nation treats its elders. Broadcast dates and times will vary. Please check local listings.

Major underwriter for the ATSH National Caregiving Town Hall Meeting is PacifiCare. Additional underwriters are the Mt. Sinai Health Care Foundation of Cleveland and the FJC, a donor advised fund, of New York City.

Executive Producers/Directors are Dale Bell and Harry Wiland; Writers are Dale Bell and Rachel Ross; Associate Producers are Vicki Mills for production and Rachel Ross for research; Editor is Kirk Kirkland; Assistant Editor is Maria Theresianne Avedillo; Directors of Photography are Norris Brock and Jonathan Bell; Audio is Michael Roche; additional editing by Beverly Baroff; Music by David Loeb and Gary Griffith; additional music by Diane Kirkland; Production Assistant is Mark Beattie.