Older adults have difficulty navigating a long term care services and support system that is seen as a loose coordination, inconsistent communication, fragmented delivery and navigation difficulty by consumers and providers alike. There are multiple entry points for services, multiple services with differing degrees of approvals and qualification, county-by-county variations, duplicative regulations, and paperwork that characterize a disjointed and confusing system.
Family caregivers, independent and care dependent older adults, and middle income seniors are likely to fall between your gaps, and may struggle to afford self-pay but do not qualify for many services. These are a few of the conclusions contained in a newly released Joint STATE report on long term treatment issues in Pennsylvania. The statement includes 37 specific policy findings and/or recommendations.
Note: I’ve italicized direct quotations from the report. Pennsylvania Legislature. It provides lawmakers with a means for performing interdisciplinary studies. The JSGC Long Term Care record was written in response to a legislative request for a report of the Commonwealth’s delivery system of long-term care services and works with for self-employed and care-dependent old adults. To carry out its research the JSGC formed an advisory committee of 29 experts. The goal of this advisory committee and JSGC personnel was to objectively review the problems relating to long-term care, establish the existing state of supports and services, and evaluate the needs of the growing people of seniors.
In addition, the JSGC staff do background research and traveled throughout the condition to consult with stakeholders, visit nursing homes, helped living residences, personal care homes, continuing care retirement areas, adult day services, and mature centers, and hold information classes. The recommendations of the advisory committee are included within the Findings & Recommendations section, which includes several proposed statutory and regulatory changes. The suggestions propose policy and legislative changes that focus on more efficiently and effectively interacting with the needs of consumers.
The amount of consensus achieved by the advisory committee is impressive given its diverse regular membership and the reality that long-term treatment stakeholders have very strong and defined special interests with huge money implications based on policies adopted. If this group could agree on 37 points, state should take heed.
In addition to its Findings and Recommendations the report contains useful background information on the long term treatment system in Pennsylvania. The authors recognize that Pennsylvania is facing a “silver tsunami” at its doorstep as the baby boomers boost the need for maturing services. The graying of the constant state has increased demand on both services and funding.
We cannot meet this increasing tide exclusively by increasing efficiency or prevention. How can the state deliver more services to more people given budgetary constraints? How can those ongoing services be safeguard without the unintended impact of regulations on providers, making them spend additional time on compliance paperwork than delivery of care?
How can true consumer choice be advertised when there may not be the amount of money to aid those choices? There is nobody solution and the difficulty of the mixed funding, delivery, and support systems will keep this presssing issue on leading burner for households, consumers, and policy makers in the years to come. The ultimate goal is to maintain coordination of treatment in a consumer aimed model that connects people who have the right services when they may be needed. The report contains some mistakes that reflect the immense intricacy of the regulations involved with our current health insurance and long term treatment delivery system.
- Focus on benefits, not losses
- 15 -$0.55 -$0.55
- 5% (for higher level taxpayers)
- Tim Hortons (THI) – $32.00
But, overall its description of the dysfunction in the machine is accurate, and its results and suggestions provide a great resource for plan makers who have the responsibility of safeguarding our frail and vulnerable elderly. Long term care is not an investment in the future for the state’s children, it does not maintain the infrastructure in streets or bridges, but it acts an important government function to help its most vulnerable citizens. That function may be as critical as the constitutional responsibility to protect the health, safety and welfare of all Pennsylvanians.
The aged represent some of the most vulnerable of those citizens, a generation that has paid its dues and really should get a known level of programs and services to its advantage. Policy makers often focus on getting the youngest citizens to a great start in life off, but the oldest citizens need the opportunity to end their days with choice, dignity, and respect.