The 2011 Legislative Session is winding down and along the way a number of bills that could dramatically improve the care of elderly citizens while simultaneously decreasing the costs of that care are up for consideration.
The State Commission on Aging has taken a proactive stance on several bills among which is Senate Bill 1185: An Act Concerning State Payments to Nursing Homes and the Duties of Nursing Home Receivers.
Julia Evans Starr, Executive Director of the Commission on Aging commented during a public hearing on this bill that the Commission on Aging “the Long-Term Care Advisory Council and others have recommended this initiative as a key component to rebalancing our state’s long-term care system, while helping nursing homes maintain and retain financial viability.
“Rebalancing” our long-term care system means shifting the balance between the amount of people receiving services in institutions versus community settings. Currently, our state spends about 65% of its Medicaid long-term care dollars on institutional care, like nursing homes – about $1.6 billion annually. Our dollars stretch further when providing home- and community-based care: while only 35% of the dollars goes to community-based care, we serve 53% of the people that way.
According to Connecticut’s 2010 State Long-Term Care Plan, rebalancing the system will cost our state $900 million less in 2025 than leaving the balance as-is.
But, rebalancing is not just about dollars and cents. It’s about choice, independence, dignity – and the law.
Importantly, the experts indicate that if we achieve the rebalancing goals set in the state’s Long-Term Care Plan, we can actually reduce the number of nursing home beds we need in 2030 by 25%.
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