Long-Term Care Panel Releases Recommendations but Falls Short on How to Pay for Services
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
by: Policy Team

Section: VNAA Updates

A report to address the country’s surging need for long-term health care was released by a Congressional commission created to address this issue.  Though the commission provided recommendations, they did not reach a consensus on how to pay for long term services and supports (LTSS).  Nine of the 15 commissioners, five Republicans and four Democrats, supported the proposals.  Five Commissioners wrote a dissenting statement. 

The Commission’s final report addresses key concerns but offers few solutions to the most pressing issue of how to pay for LTSS.  The report calls for: 1) revising scope of practice rules to allow nurses and others to provide medical services; 2) ensuring that family caregivers are included in care planning; 3) using more technology to share information; 4) supporting criminal background checks for long-term care workers and 5) improving working conditions and opportunities for direct care workers.

The committee also offered suggestions to improve current options for helping families pay for long-term care including allowing disabled workers to access Medicaid to pay for services they need to keep working.   The panel also recommends eliminating Medicare’s requirement that beneficiaries spend three days in the hospital to receive nursing home coverage.

Commissioners who wrote a dissenting statement wanted recommendations that were not included in the Commission's final report including: a new social insurance program for LTSS, living wages for home-care workers and richer Medicaid benefits among others.

A copy of the final report can be obtained here http://www.ltccommission.senate.gov/index.cfm

A statement of the five Commissioners who dissented is posted on the website of the advocacy organization, Centers for Medicare Advocacy  http://www.medicareadvocacy.org/press-release-alternative-recommendations-from-long-term-care-commission-members-including-the-centers-judith-stein/

The Commission is composed of 15 members appointed by both the Republican and Democratic leadership of the House and Senate as well as the President.   Dr. Bruce Chernofserved as the Chair.  Carol Raphael, MPA, M.Ed., currently Vice Chairman of the Board of AARP, and formerly CEO and President of Visiting Nurse Service of New York, also served on the commission.  A list of the Commissioners is provided here.
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