Governor Tom Corbett announced on January 8, his acceptance of the Long-Term Care Commission Report, which proposes recommendations and a strategic approach for improving the state’s long-term services and supports (LTSS) system for persons with disabilities and older adults.
"This report builds on the commitment of the Healthy Pennsylvania plan to ensure quality care for those who most need our help, including older Pennsylvanians and Pennsylvanians with disabilities," Gov. Corbett said. "I thank the secretaries of Human Services, Bev Mackereth, and Aging, Brian Duke, who served as co-chairs, as well as the commission members, advisors and public meeting participants for sharing their experiences and suggestions throughout this process.
“The recommendations in this report form an effective strategy and foundation for strengthening Pennsylvania’s long-term care system."
Pennsylvania has the fourth-largest percentage of residents aged 60 years and older. There are 1.7 million Pennsylvanians with physical disabilities needing assistance in their communities. Both of these populations, including Pennsylvanians aged 85 and older, are expected to increase in the coming years.
The report was developed by the Pennsylvania Long-Term Care Commission, which Governor Corbett created by executive order on Jan. 31, 2014. It reflects a consensus from commission members on how to respond effectively to meet the challenges involved in improving LTSS and identifies four recommendations with goals and strategies for implementation, including:
Improve care coordination in the LTSS System by developing a coordinated, integrated demonstration program and conducting an analysis to identify and address service gaps and barriers.
Improve service delivery by streamlining the Medical Assistance LTSS eligibility process, increasing education to promote personal planning for LTSS needs, expanding access to evidence-based health and wellness programs, increasing housing options, providing increased support to unpaid caregivers, and elevating the profession of direct care workers.
Improve quality and outcomes in the LTSS System by adopting a uniform assessment for all LTSS levels of care and expanding Health Information Exchange and Electronic Health Record initiatives to providers.
Make the LTSS system more fiscally sustainable by serving the greatest number of individuals, providing the Department of Human Services budget flexibility, and reviewing the LTSS rating setting and reimbursement systems for all providers.
"Research shows that nearly 70 percent of individuals who reached age 60 in 2012 are expected to need long-term care services at some point during their lifetime,”Secretary Duke said. “The commission looked carefully at ways to strengthen these services to help individuals obtain them in the most coordinated and effective manner. The resulting recommendations will guide Pennsylvania's leaders in improving the LTSS system for the benefit of those who rely upon it."
“I am proud of the work that the commission carried out in creating recommendations that will help some of our most vulnerable residents,”Secretary Mackereth said. “Each year the demand for Medicaid long-term care services continues to grow. The report will help us move forward in developing a more efficient system."
The commission, along with the departments of Aging and Human Services, conducted regional public meetings and gathered written comments to obtain expertise from organizations, subject-matter experts and caregivers in developing the final recommendations.
For more information, or to view the Pennsylvania Long-Term Commission Report, visit: www.dhs.state.pa.us.