Healthcare Tips

Utah Panel To Consider Freezing Funding To Long-Term Care Facilities

May 01, 2017

A special legislative panel in Utah that is reviewing state spending on Medicaid and other programs for seniors next month will receive a proposal to freeze funding for long-term care facilities and promote home-based care, the Salt Lake City Deseret Morning News reports.

According to Alan Ormsby, director of the state Division of Aging and Adult Services, "This is simply recognizing that the traditional skilled nursing at a care center model of caregiving is on the way out." Ormsby said, "I would never say there isn't a place for long-term care centers. But when you can provide safe and often more effective services at home and at less than a sixth of the cost for most seniors, we have to at least begin moving in that direction." The Morning News reports that the average cost of in-home care is $3,700 annually, while nursing home costs average $72,000 annually.

Josefina Carbonell -- assistant secretary of the U.S. Administration on Aging at HHS, speaking last week at the annual conference of the Utah Gerontological Society -- said, "Any investment in long-term care must be in modernizing long-term care. Study after study, and program after program ... have shown both incredible benefits to the well-being of seniors and cost savings much too big to be ignored." Carbonell added, "This step is a call to action for providers here and around the country. Anything that can be done to not damage the infrastructure of the family and the home or force Americans to spend down to poverty so they can receive Medicaid is not only what we need to be promoting, it's what the new wave of baby boomer senior citizens is demanding."

The panel will make recommendations for the proposal by November and the full Legislature would have to act on it during the 2008 general session (Thalman, Salt Lake City Deseret Morning News, 9/20).

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