LeadingAge Statement from president and CEO Katie Smith Sloan in response to "Sheltering in Danger," an investigative report by the Minority Staff of the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance," Nov. 2, 2018.

We appreciate that the Finance Committee is interested in ensuring that nursing home residents are safe and receive high-quality care. Our members, nonprofit providers of aging services, including skilled nursing, share these concerns and live them every day.

As we said in written testimony to the Committee in September, the deaths at Hollywood Hills should never have happened. Had outside witnesses been invited to testify in early September, LeadingAge would have pointed out that the new CMS emergency preparedness rules outline very detailed specifications for emergency plans that address all potential hazards.

First, let’s be clear. We make no apology for poor quality nursing home care. Errors should be addressed. Continual improvement is a must. That’s why LeadingAge has supported the substantial changes, put into place in late 2017 as part of CMS’ new regulations, months after the Florida and Texas events described in this Nov. 2018 “Sheltering in Danger,” report.

Regarding the Committee’s recommendations, we propose that, prior to adding more regulations -- and risk complicating the decision process administrators and nursing home staff follow when assessing whether to stay or go -- the Committee members speak to administrators and staff whose deep experience in managing disaster situations has yielded success. As the report introduction notes, ‘most of the facilities weathered [hurricane Harvey and Irma] without incident…’

We believe that while clear requirements are essential, room must be allowed for human judgment in emergency and disaster situations.

Nobody entrusted with making the decision to evacuate or shelter in place takes it lightly. As we’ve seen, lives depend on leaders making the right decision - and learning from what happened before. Fortunately, emergency plans and generators were in place to deal effectively with Hurricanes Florence and Michael, both of which occurred after the new rules went into effect.

Let’s give the new system a chance to work. Further, we suggest that all community partners be part of the solution. For example, nursing homes should be as high as hospitals on the priority list for restoration of power.

In the spirit of continual improvement, we encourage the Committee to adopt a ‘learn-from-the-best’ mentality. Improve training and preparation, as suggested, and develop a better-informed, receptive and responsive community emergency response system. Draw from the examples of experienced operators, including those who during the recent Hurricane Florence and Michael disasters, demonstrated their ability to properly assess options and manage the situation while working within existing guidelines. (See NPR.org: “How Nursing Homes are Preparing for Hurricane Florence,” Sept. 11, 2018, and NBCNews.com: “Evacuate or Stay? For Nursing Homes in Storm’s Path, the Decision isn’t Easy,” Sept. 12, 2018)

We would welcome the opportunity to convene providers, CMS, consumers and other stakeholders to meet with the Committee staff to discuss emergency and disaster planning and the experiences of our members with planning and with the new requirements. If the Committee determines that additional requirements are necessary, we respectfully suggest committing new resources to support implementation and evaluate impact.

Finally, all of the nearly 6,000 provider communities that belong to LeadingAge care deeply about supporting each other when disaster strikes. We established the LeadingAge Disaster Relief Fund in 2017. Last year, thanks to more than 1,000 donations from member organizations and people around the country, we raised more than $680,000 to help those affected by hurricanes, mudslides, and wildfires. This year members contributed nearly $20,000 to help those affected by Hurricane Florence. All Funds go directly to those in need for basics like food and water.

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Nursing Home Quality
Nursing Home Rules and Regulation
Nursing Homes
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Lisa Sanders
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Contact: Lisa Sanders

lsanders@leadingage.org

202-508-9407

Washington D.C. October 18, 2018 -- Falls are costly for older adults. The good news: an increasing number of technology companies are responding to the need for help with fall detection and prevention through monitoring using safety technologies and devices.

Safety technology options extend beyond fall detection and prevention, however.

That’s why LeadingAge Center for Aging Services Technologies (CAST) today introduces its first-ever toolkit devoted to safety technology for use in long-term and post-acute care environments. The five-part resource educates providers of aging services and LeadingAge members on the breadth of available devices, applications and services available to help improve safety, sense of security, peace of mind and quality of life and care for older adults and their caregivers.

“Falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries for older Americans. Research shows that those who receive help within one hour of a fall are nearly six times more likely to survive than those who wait longer for aid,” said Majd Alwan, PhD, Executive Director of CAST. “Tech devices to either prevent falls or summon help after a fall, as well as check-in systems and community-wide communication systems, improve older adults’ safety and the quality of their care in many ways, whether the older adults live independently or in a community. Our toolkit helps providers and consumers with the identification, planning for and selection of the best products and services to meet users’ needs.”

Available online at no cost, the toolkit includes: a whitepaper, an interactive guide, an online product selection tool and a product selection matrix, both comparing 34 products from 18 vendors, and case studies from providers utilizing safety technology.

An additional resource in the toolkit whitepaper is a section for providers on Medicaid waiver coverage of safety technologies, as well as a discussion of other potential opportunities to incorporate these technologies into business and care delivery models, their return-on-investment (ROI) and how to calculate such ROI.

About the LeadingAge Center for Aging Services Technologies
The LeadingAge Center for Aging Services Technologies (CAST) is focused on accelerating the development, evaluation and adoption of emerging technologies that will transform the aging experience. An international coalition of more than 400 technology companies, aging-services organizations, businesses, research universities, and government representatives, CAST works under the auspices of LeadingAge, an association of 6,000+ members and partners that include nonprofit organizations representing the entire field of aging services, 38 state partners, hundreds of businesses, consumer groups, foundations, and research partners.

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Devices and Systems Help Prevent Leading Cause of Fatal and Non-Fatal Injuries for Older Adults

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CAST
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Lisa Sanders
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Contact: Lisa Sanders
lsanders@leadingage.org
202-508-9407

Washington D.C. October 9, 2018 -- Coming into its 15th year, the premier health information technology conference dedicated to uniting executives and IT leaders in the long-term and post-acute care field with acute care providers, payers and technology vendors in aging services, announces exciting developments for its June 2019 conference.

The most obvious change is the new name. The Long-Term Post-Acute Care Health IT Summit is now the Collaborative Care & Health IT Innovations Summit, to better reflect the breadth of providers and key business partners involved, including payers, technology partners, and information exchange facilitators, said Majd Alwan, SVP Technology and Executive Director, LeadingAge Center for Aging Services Technology (CAST), the Summit’s lead planner.

For the 2019 event, to be held in Baltimore, Maryland, June 23-25, CAST welcomes collaborators including LeadingAge and members of the Long-Term Post-Acute Care Health IT Collaborative; together, the group will deliver a unique experience for attendees -- health IT leaders, strategists, policymakers, providers, clinicians, vendors and professionals -- promoting a discussion of technology’s role as a connector integrating pre-acute and long-term post-acute care services into the healthcare and payment ecosystems, and uniting formerly silo’d sectors in an era of health and payment reforms.

“What residents, patients, clients or caregivers want and need must drive the integrated delivery of care, with a person-centered focus. Technology can help make this happen. Last June’s conference reinforced our belief in the importance of collaboration across the entire healthcare ecosystem in order to meet that demand,” said Majd Alwan, SVP Technology and Executive Director, LeadingAge Center for Aging Services Technology. “We’re expanding on last year’s themes to explore more connectivity and interoperability modalities and their impact on care and payment models. Most of all, the focus on innovative business models that incentivize all parties -- including long-term post-acute care providers -- must also continue.”

Finally, to facilitate engaging technology vendors’ participation in the Summit, the exhibitors’ application process now requires an application prior to registration.

Check the new Summit’s web site, last year’s schedule of events and sponsors & exhibitors, and what went down in 2018. Businesses, including health information exchange facilitators and intermediaries, interested in exhibiting, can find more details on doing so here.

Speakers interested in participating in the 2019 Collaborative Care & Health IT Summit, please contact Scott Code, Associate Director of CAST, at scode@leadingage.org. 202-508-9466.

About the LTPAC Health IT Collaborative

The LTPAC Health IT Collaborative is a public-private group of stakeholder organizations representing associations, providers, policy-makers, researchers, vendors, and professionals with a mission to coordinate the sector and maintain alignment with the national priorities. The Collaborative was formed in 2005 to advance health information technology (health IT) issues by encouraging coordination among provider organizations, policymakers, vendors, payers and other stakeholders. Collaborative members include national associations representing clinicians, providers, information technology developers and researchers with expertise in the long term and post-acute care (LTPAC).

About the LeadingAge Center for Aging Services Technologies
The LeadingAge Center for Aging Services Technologies (CAST) is focused on accelerating the development, evaluation and adoption of emerging technologies that will transform the aging experience. An international coalition of more than 400 technology companies, aging-services organizations, businesses, research universities and government representatives, CAST works under the auspices of LeadingAge, an association of 6,000+ members and partners that include nonprofit organizatinos representing the entire field of aging services, 38 state partners, hundreds of businesses, consumer groups, foundation and research partners.

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New Name Reflects Conference’s Role in Aligning LTPAC Sector with Acute Care and Payers

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Contact: Lisa Sanders/LeadingAge
lsanders@leadingage.org; 202-508-9407
Contact: AHCAPressOffice@ahca.org
202-898-2814

September 28, 2018 Washington D.C. -- LeadingAge and the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living applaud today’s introduction of H.R. 6986, the Nursing Home Workforce Quality Act. Leaders of both organizations, which combined represent the majority of America’s skilled nursing and long-term care providers, praise Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI) for his leadership on a long-overdue initiative that will support nursing homes’ efforts to train staff and provide the highest quality of care to older adults.

The legislation introduced today modifies the Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) training lock-out mandated by the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987 (OBRA). It eliminates the statute’s rigid provisions and grants CMS greater flexibility in reinstating providers’ valuable CNA training programs.

“Nursing homes and other long-term care providers are grappling with a severe workforce shortage. The ability to train CNAs is crucial to building and maintaining a pipeline of qualified staff,” said LeadingAge president and CEO Katie Smith Sloan. “We have advocated for this change to OBRA for many years. The introduction of this bill is a monumental step forward in our ongoing efforts to address the challenges providers face in recruiting and retaining workers.”

Under OBRA, nursing homes assessed civil monetary penalties above a certain level on their annual survey automatically lose their authority to train CNAs for two years. The suspension is required even if the fines are unrelated to the quality of care given to residents or if the care deficiencies cited on the survey are unrelated to the nursing home’s CNA training program. Additionally, training cannot be reinstated before the two-year period ends even if a provider fixes the problem for which it is fined. CNAs, who provide direct care to residents, are critical members of every nursing home’s care team.

“Effectively eliminating training programs for vital front-line staff threatens the quality of care we provide, particularly as the shortage of health care workers becomes more acute,” said Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living. “CNAs are the backbone of quality care and the jobs that nursing homes and assisted living communities provide are often integral to the community, particularly in rural and small communities where they are the major employer in the area. This bill will help everyone be more responsive to the needs of residents and providers.”

Both LeadingAge and AHCA/NCAL appreciate the leadership Rep. Duffy has shown on this issue, and urge his House colleagues to join him in cosponsoring this important legislation.

About LeadingAge

The mission of LeadingAge is to be the trusted voice of aging. Our 6,000+ members and partners include nonprofit organizations representing the entire field of aging services, 38 state associations, hundreds of businesses, consumer groups, foundations and research centers. LeadingAge is also part of the Global Ageing Network, whose membership spans 30 countries. LeadingAge is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt charitable organization focused on education, advocacy and applied research.

About AHCA/NCAL

The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) represents more than 13,500 nonprofit and proprietary skilled nursing centers, assisted living communities, sub-acute care centers and homes for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. By delivering solutions for quality care, AHCA/NCAL aims to improve the lives of frail, elderly and individuals with disabilities who receive long term or post-acute care in our member facilities each day. For more information, please visit www.ahca.org or www.ncal.org.

 
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Leading Industry Groups Support H.R. 6986 Legislation to End Mandatory CNA Training Lock-Out

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Nursing Homes
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Lisa Sanders
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Contact: Lisa Sanders

lsanders@leadingage.org

347-385-2218 cell

Washington D.C. March 23, 2018 -- LeadingAge, the association for nonprofit providers of aging services, celebrates Congress’ support for the expansion and preservation of affordable housing for low-income older adults. The inclusion of funding for new, affordable senior housing coupled with the inclusion of a new housing preservation tool, known as RAD for PRAC, in the fiscal year 2018 omnibus spending bill, are significant advocacy wins for LeadingAge and its members.

“This victory caps years of focused, persistent, and heartfelt advocacy,” said Katie Smith Sloan, president and CEO of LeadingAge. “It would not have been possible without the support and effort by many of our members.”

As part of the omnibus, expected to be signed into law this week, Congress would expand HUD’s Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) to include Section 202 Housing for the Elderly homes in need of capital investment. The new authority provides over 2,800 Section 202 nonprofit-sponsored communities nationwide, all serving Americans age 62 and older, with the ability to seek out private financing to meet capital repair needs in order to preserve this affordable housing well into the future. In addition, the spending bill includes some of the highest funding levels provided to most housing programs in recent years, including $105 million for more than 760 new affordable homes for low-income older Americans.

“Given the extreme shortage of housing affordable to low-income seniors, the inclusion of new construction funding and the new preservation tool in the omnibus are important steps forward for LeadingAge’s members,” said Linda Couch, vice president of housing policy. “The average income of seniors assisted by the Section 202 program is $13,300; we must preserve and expand this critical housing.”

LeadingAge members around the U.S. share Ms. Couch’s enthusiasm for lawmakers’ support. “This much-needed statutory change will allow us to upgrade and renovate the homes of thousands of our seniors nationwide,” said Patrick Sheridan, executive vice president, housing, Volunteers of America.

For New York City-based Selfhelp Community Services, “This policy will enable us to finance critical upgrades, including new roofs, new heating and cooling systems, and façade work. Combined with our social service model, this will enable older adults to age with the independence and dignity they deserve, in housing that best meets their needs,” said Evelyn Wolff, vice president, Real Estate Development.

“We have a forecasted capital needs gap of approximately $45 million over the next decade. This will help us to address our communities’ needs, and to safely and affordably house some of our country’s most vulnerable elders for many years to come,” said Michelle Norris, executive vice president of external affairs and strategic initiatives, National Church Residences.

LeadingAge is grateful to the Senate’s inclusion of RAD for PRAC authority in its FY18 HUD bill, and for Representative Mike Quigley’s (D-IL) championing of this new authority during the House’s consideration of its FY18 HUD spending bill.

About LeadingAge

The mission of LeadingAge is to be the trusted voice for aging. Our 6,000+ members and partners include nonprofit organizations representing the entire field of aging services, 38 state associations, hundreds of businesses, consumer groups, foundations and research centers. LeadingAge is also a part of the Global Ageing Network, whose membership spans 30 countries. LeadingAge is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt charitable organization focused on education, advocacy and applied research.

Intro: 

Inclusion of More Funding and New Tools to Provide Access to Additional Financing Resources in Omnibus Legislation Achieves Longstanding Advocacy Goal for Association’s Nonprofit Affordable Housing Members

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Housing Finance
HUD
Senior Housing
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Lisa Sanders
Members Only: 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Lisa Sanders

347-385-2218 cell; lsanders@leadingage.org

Washington D.C. March 23, 2018--LeadingAge, the association for nonprofit providers of aging services, commends Congress’ passage of the omnibus 2018 spending bill yesterday. The legislation currently awaits approval from President Trump.

“We are especially pleased that Congress recognized the need to make much-needed renovations to aging housing properties,” said Katie Smith Sloan, president and CEO.

The bill includes RAD for PRAC, a provision for which LeadingAge and our members have worked very hard for many years. RAD for PRAC is shorthand for provisions that will give housing properties with project rental assistance contracts access to the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Rental Assistance Demonstration program. This provision will bring new preservation opportunities to aging project rental assistance contract communities and is a key priority for LeadingAge. We commend Congress for including this provision in the spending bill and congratulate the many LeadingAge members who joined us in advocating for it.

The omnibus spending bill provides some of the highest funding levels most housing programs have seen in years, including $105 million for more than 760 new affordable homes for low-income older adults.

We also are pleased that low-income home energy assistance (LIHEAP), social services block grants, and other programs on which older people rely for home and community-based services received increased funding. In addition, the omnibus spending bill provides $4.5 million in health promotion dedicated to Alzheimer’s disease and $2 million for initiatives to prevent falls among older people. Research funding on Alzheimer’s disease also received a $414 million boost.

Because Medicare and Medicaid are not subject to the annual appropriations process, this legislation does not affect the funding of those programs, although Congress included language encouraging CMS to support mental health treatment for older individuals, especially in rural and underserved areas, noting that Medicare does not cover such care completely.

“We applaud Congress for the funding they approved for essential services for older adults through the remainder of 2018, and we will continue working with legislators on the budget for fiscal year 2019,” Sloan added.

About LeadingAge

The mission of LeadingAge is to be the trusted voice for aging. Our 6,000+ members and partners include nonprofit organizations representing the entire field of aging services, 38 state associations, hundreds of businesses, consumer groups, foundations and research centers. LeadingAge is also a part of the Global Ageing Network, whose membership spans 30 countries. LeadingAge is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt charitable organization focused on education, advocacy and applied research.

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Intro: 

Legislation marks a huge win for LeadingAge and its members’ advocacy, especially on affordable senior housing.

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Lisa Sanders
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LeadingAge Statement on the President's Proposed Budget

The President’s budget prioritizes cuts to programs important to older adults. LeadingAge is deeply concerned about the future of affordable housing for older adults, as the request seeks to cut HUD by more than 18% compared to FY17-enacted funding. It would reduce funding for HUD’s elder-specific housing program, and deeply cut the voucher program as well as phase out the nation’s public housing program. While the document’s language suggests support to Medicaid and Medicare, details to back up that claim are lacking. What we do know: the budget proposes Medicaid per capita caps and block grants, which LeadingAge continues to oppose. It also proposes cuts to Medicare, which can have negative consequences for beneficiaries and providers and threaten important community supports funded under the Older Americans Act.

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LeadingAge Advocacy Team

Washington DC – The LeadingAge Center for Aging Services Technologies (CAST) today announces the launch of its latest resource created to educate aging services providers and LeadingAge members on the technologies designed for the long-term and post-acute care market.

The negative impact of social isolation—the experienced or perceived lack of personal relationships with family, friends and acquaintances who can be relied upon—is a health concern for people of all ages, but becomes more pronounced as people age. Its prolonged health risk is significant, matching the effect of smoking 15 cigarettes a day!

“This is a real problem that older adults, caregivers, and providers want to—and need to—address. Fortunately, a growing number of companies are responding to this market demand with innovative technological solutions and services,” said Majd Alwan, Ph.D., LeadingAge Senior Vice President of Technology and Executive Director of CAST. “From relatively simple applications, such as text and picture chats, to the more complex, like virtual reality companion avatars, and robots, tech-based tools and solutions can help. This resource helps providers and consumers alike select solutions that meet their needs.”

CAST’s new offering includes:

  • A whitepaper and interactive guide explaining the issue and its significance to LeadingAge members, aging services providers, and consumers.
  • A product selection matrix compiled by CAST compares and contrasts 40 different products developed for older adults and long-term and post-acute care objectively, based on functionalities, features and capabilities that each product offers
  • An online selection tool to help prospective buyers/users select the tools and approaches best suited to their needs
  • Provider case studies providing real-life examples of a technology solution implemented by aging services providers, with details on approach, implementation strategy, outcome and lessons learned

To participate in future CAST portfolio development, please contact Scott Code, Associate Director of CAST at 202-508-9466.

About the LeadingAge Center for Aging Services Technologies

The LeadingAge Center for Aging Services Technologies (CAST) is focused on accelerating the development, evaluation, and adoption of emerging technologies that will transform the aging experience. An international coalition of more than 400 technology companies, aging-services organizations, businesses, research universities, and government representatives, CAST works under the auspices of LeadingAge, an association of 6,000+ members and partners that include nonprofit organizations representing the entire field of aging services, 38 state partners, hundreds of businesses, consumer groups, foundations and research partners.

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Contact: Lisa Sanders, 347-385-2218

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Lisa Sanders
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 27, 2017

Contact: Amanda Marr, 202-508-1219, amarr@leadingage.org


LeadingAge’s Robyn Stone, Kathryn Roberts Named Influencers in Aging


Washington, DC -- Dr. Robyn Stone, senior vice president of research at LeadingAge, and Kathryn Roberts, LeadingAge board chair and CEO of Ecumen, have both been named Influencers in Aging by Next Avenue.


The award recognizes advocates, researchers, thought leaders, innovators, writers, and experts who continue to push beyond traditional boundaries and change our understanding of what it means to grow older.


“Robyn and Kathryn epitomize innovation and influence in the aging services field,” said Katie Smith Sloan, president and CEO of LeadingAge. “Their unique contributions will have a lasting effect on the lives of older adults for years to come.”


LeadingAge member Richard Browdie, president and CEO of the Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging, was also recognized.


“The mission of LeadingAge is to be the trusted voice for aging, and it’s clear that these 3 honorees are living out this message,” continued Smith Sloan. “I’m excited to see what they do next.”


Read more about why they were chosen and browse the full list of all this year’s Influencers in Aging.


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About LeadingAge

The mission of LeadingAge is to be the trusted voice for aging. Our 6,000+ members and partners include nonprofit organizations representing the entire field of aging services, 38 state associations, hundreds of businesses, consumer groups, foundations and research centers. LeadingAge is also a part of the Global Ageing Network, whose membership spans 30 countries. LeadingAge is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt charitable organization focused on education, advocacy and applied research.

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LeadingAge Press Release

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Amanda Marr
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Washington, DC -- Today, LeadingAge unveils its vision for the future of long-term services and supports (LTSS) in a new report: A New Vision for Long-Term Services and Supports.

LeadingAge has been at the forefront of LTSS financing reform for more than a decade. We strongly believe that America must create a new system of paying for LTSS so families alone don’t shoulder the burden of paying for care their loved ones need.

LTSS, or needing help with everyday activities such as bathing, eating, or dressing, will affect about 50% of people over the age of 65. LTSS are expensive and not currently covered by Medicare. As a result, individuals must pay out of pocket. Families often resort to depleting savings and other retirement funds to pay for care. Eventually, people turn to Medicaid when they run out of money.

“We must no longer tolerate a system that bankrupts families and leaves older adults without the services they need to lead productive lives,” said Katie Smith Sloan, president and CEO of LeadingAge.

The report outlines 3 essential features of a universal LTSS insurance program:

  1. A universal approach to coverage.
  2. A catastrophic benefit period.
  3. A “managed cash” benefit structure.

“LeadingAge recognizes that a universal, catastrophic insurance approach might not be accepted readily in today’s budgetary and political environment,” continued Sloan. “However, given projected demographic trends, we are confident that the need for reform of the LTSS system will not disappear. We continue to advance the movement for reform that is guided by the principles of rationality, equity, and affordability.”
 

Read the full report.

 
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact Amanda Marr
202-508-1219

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