The Long Term Care Commission released their findings Friday in a brief summary of recommendations. The summary touches on the various issues plaguing the long term care industry and provides suggestions for reform and improvement. In the end, however, the commission was unable to fully agree on any suggestions for financing of the public’s long term care support and services.
As Americans worked to find ways to pay for their long term care services, the group commissioned by Congress to do the very same thing discussed their options in several meetings with insurers, facilities, caregivers, and other industry experts. With the CLASS Act out of the picture, the federal government set out once more to create a solution to the long term care crisis that is set to sweep the nation in coming decades.
The group, a bipartisan mixture of industry experts, was unable to agree on much, with financing acting as the most dividing issue. Though the recommendations are thoughtful and worth consideration, the commission, who, in the end, was split 9-6 on the final report, did not reach an all-encompassing resolution. An encouraging note is that the commission seemed to recognize the importance of in-home care and family caregivers in a modern system. As both finances and a wish for more independence lead people to a more family-centered care structure, embracing in-home care and family caregivers is vital.
The recommendations included in the report were heavily focused on a person-centered system with high quality care. One included working towards a more integrated long term care system that allows patients to remain in the care setting that is least restrictive.
Remaining within the community is important to a lot of people receiving care, as it helps them stay more active throughout the day and better connected with loved ones. Improving the effectiveness and use of technology can also help advance this goal, as new devices can allow long term care patients to continue to live safely in their homes.
Addressing the employees in the long term care workforce was also a key point in the report. Implementing a nationwide criminal background check for all employees in a long term care setting is another one of the policy recommendations made the commission. Improving the potential career ladder for direct care workers was also listed as a suggestion, in order to encourage more people to enter the workforce and motivate current employees to provide top notch care.
A Way to Pay?
Unfortunately, without a specific plan to pay for these new policies and recommendations, things remain largely the same. No financing plan, public or private, was decided upon among members of the commission. Although the coming long term care crisis is obvious, a comprehensive answer to the financial problem is not.
The climbing cost of care demands a solution and the commission has recommended that another national committee be formed to continue the work that they began. Congress is not required to abide by any of the recommendations in the report, although we hope they will use them as a “starting point”, as the commission suggested.
A government-wide solution to the long term care crisis is likely not to appear any time soon, which means how you choose to plan for long term care is up to you. If you have assets and a nest egg to protect, buying long term care insurance should be on your retirement checklist.
Make Your Own Plan
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The full recommendations report by the commission will be released on September 18th and a minority report will also be released at the same time.