Dec. 19, 2013
WASHINGTON, DC — The Commission on Long-Term Care accomplished an important goal: elevating the conversation in Washington about the need to improve long-term care. The Commission report and the alternative report call attention to the urgent need to enhance the long term services and supports (LTSS) system to support families across the country.
We believe that the first step is to address the current imbalance that exists in the financing of LTSS. Unfortunately, Medicaid, the nation’s largest LTSS payer, continues to give preference to the LTSS provision in institutions such as nursing homes instead of at home and in the community. As a result, many low-income older adults who could be receiving care at home are unnecessarily moved into institutions.
There was widespread agreement by the Commission that a high quality, accessible network of home and community-based services that supports individuals so that they may live with dignity and independence in the setting of their choice is an important component of long-term care reform. As Congress addresses the recommendations of the Commission, we urge them to seize the opportunity to correct Medicaid’s imbalance and finally shift the delivery of Medicaid-funded long-term services and supports away from institutions and into the community.
NSCLC commends the Senate Special Committee on Aging for holding a hearing Dec. 18 on long-term care. The Committee is continuing a conversation that parents, children and caregivers have every day: what can be done to support individuals and families who feel the impact of a fragmented long-term care system every day?
A Policy Issue Brief includes the recommendations we shared with the Commission.
The National Senior Citizens Law Center is a non-profit organization whose principal mission is to protect the rights of low-income older adults. Through advocacy, litigation, and the education and counseling of local advocates, we seek to ensure the health and economic security of those with limited income and resources, and access to the courts for all. For more information, visit our Web site at www.NSCLC.org.