The Pennsylvania Long Term Care Commission met for the first time last week to sort out the details of their agenda for the year.
Pennsylvania Long Term Care Commission
On Monday, March 7, the Secretary of Public Welfare Beverly Mackereth and Secretary of Aging Brian Duke met with the other 23 members. The gathering was an organizational meeting to decide future meeting dates and locations and any other necessary information before they begin their work as commissioners.
Governor Tom Corbett created the Pennsylvania Long Term Care Commission on January 31, 2014 via executive order as part of his Healthy Pennsylvania proposal. The purpose of the commission is to evaluate the state’s long term care system and come up with recommendations to help improve the efficiency and cost effectiveness of long term care services received throughout the state.
The goal of the commission is to find ways to integrate the system to make long term care across Pennsylvania more person-centered and a system that leans towards home care rather than institutional care, which is currently the standard. Not only is home care preferred by most long term care patients, it is also significantly less costly than care at an assisted living facility or nursing home.
Addressing Need in Pennsylvania
“As our older population continues to grow, the need for a coordinated, person-centered long-term care system is essential in making certain those in need receive services at the right time, in the right setting and at the right level of intensity,” said Duke. “Our meeting today was the start of a process that will help shape long-term care in Pennsylvania for the future.”
Details such as dates and locations of future meetings of the Pennsylvania Long Term Care Commission will be made public soon. The commission has until December 31 at the end of this year to submit their recommendations to the legislature.
According to the press release published by the Pennsylvania Department of Aging, 1 in 4 Pennsylvanians will be aged 60 or older by 2015. As the elderly population, especially that of individuals aged 85 and older, continues to grow rapidly due to improved health care, it becomes crucial to address the financial and community problems that arise from long term care.
Long Term Care in US
The long term care problem nationwide is quickly becoming front page news as Baby Boomers begin to enter retirement and face the task of paying for their own care own day. Only a relatively small percentage, around 10%, of US seniors have Long Term Care Insurance coverage, so most people will either be forced to pay for their care out of pocket, turn to a loved one to provide unpaid care, or spend down their assets to qualify for Medicaid.
The number of individuals receiving long term care is expected to jump from 12 million in 2012 to 27 million in 2050, according to the SCAN Foundation. The federal commission tasked with the same agenda of helping solve the looming long term care crisis submitted their recommendations to Congress at the end of last year. Congress isn’t required to act on any of those recommendations, though, so it remains to be seen how effective the commission was.
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