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AHCA/NCAL Urge Congress to Protect Senior Care During Healthcare Reform Debate
Date:11/12/2008

Yarwood Cautions Against Shifting Resources Away from Most Vulnerable Citizens, Urges Collaboration with Congress for Patient-Focused Reform

WASHINGTON, Nov. 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In advance of Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus's (D-MT) introduction of his 2009 health care reform proposal, the American Health Care Association and the National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) called upon Congressional leaders and President-elect Obama to protect the full range of critical long term care services in any efforts to address health care reform.

"Currently, millions of America's most frail, elderly and disabled citizens rely on critical long term care and services delivered in nursing facilities, assisted living communities or in their own homes each year," stated Bruce Yarwood, President and CEO of AHCA/NCAL.

"Government and the long term care profession must work together on thoughtful, patient-centered reform that meets the demands of an aging population in need of a full range of long term care services as demand grows," continued Yarwood citing a March 2008 report from the National Investment Center for the Seniors Housing & Care Industry which indicated that the demand for long term care services will more than double by 2040.

While long term care is a significant portion of national and state Medicaid budgets, Yarwood cautioned that shifting resources away from nursing facility care with the intent to reduce costs will jeopardize quality care for the most vulnerable, and will not provide a less expensive option according to many studies. A 2007 analysis of Medicaid financed home and community-based services (HCBS) conducted by Avalere Health LLC, stated that, "recent studies and most state-level work confirm older findings that the provision of HCBS does not reduce the overall growth of total LTC spending."

"Our current system, which relies heavily on government financing, is unsustainable in its present form," stated the AHCA/NCAL president. "In order to address the need to include long term care within any healthcare reform debate, the profession developed a comprehensive reform plan for long term and post-acute care systems, which contains solutions to address the ongoing struggle that exists for federal and state governments to commit adequate resources to meet today's needs and tomorrow's expectations."

"AHCA/NCAL and the entire long term care profession are ready and willing to work with Chairman Baucus, President-Elect Obama, and Members of the 111th Congress to ensure that our most vulnerable citizens have access to the critical care and services they need and deserve," Yarwood concluded.

To view the AHCA/NCAL long term and post-acute care financing reform proposal, visit http://www.ahca.org.

Contact: Katherine Lehman

(202) 898-2816


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SOURCE American Health Care Association
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