On June 27, the Federal Commission on Long-Term Care met for the first time and held a public hearing on current and projected trends in long term services and supports (LTSS). The Commission, championed by Senator Rockefeller, was created under the fiscal-cliff deal passed on January 2, 2013 when the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) Act was repealed.
The 15-member commission needs to send Congress recommendations on how best to provide long-term care for the elderly and disabled. Carol Raphael, former CEO and President of Visiting Nurse Service of New York, is one of the members of the Commission. For more information on the Commissioners, see this article.
The first hearing was entitled “The Current System for Providing Long-Term Services and Supports (LTSS)” and had four witnesses:
- Anne Timlinson, Senior Vice President, Avalere Health
- Kirsten Colello, Specialist in Health and Aging Policy, Congressional Research Service
- G. William Hoagland, Senior Vice President, Bipartisan Policy Center
- Marc Cohen, Chief Research and Development Officer, LifePlans, Inc.
The commission heard a litany of statistics from four experts who explained how the nation's growing population of seniors will become more dependent on long-term care services. But the rising cost of those services threatens to deplete individuals' savings and add to the nation's budget problems because of the expenses borne by Medicare and Medicaid. The panel is hobbled with a meager budget and staffing, and it is facing a short deadline for its report. Speakers at the meeting reminded the commission that the effort is daunting.
Leadership Council on Aging Organizations
On July 10, members of the Leadership Council of Aging Organizations, including VNAA, met with the Commission’s Chief of Staff, Larry Atkins. Atkins was very optimistic that the committee will meet the six-month timeline and develop one unified report from the committee. According to Atkins, the Commission is in the process of developing and scheduling additional hearings on multiple issues impacting LTSS including care coordination and workforce issues, the Medicare and Medicaid programs work in LTSS, and private insurance resources and LTSS programs.
LCAO and the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities sent a joint letter to the Commission on behalf of its members. Read the letter here.