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New AARP Report Finds Mixed Results Among State Governments' Efforts to Balance Long Term Care Services Under Medicaid

In New York, the majority of Medicaid LTC Funds dedicated to Nursing Homes

NEW YORK, July 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A new report by AARP's Public Policy Institute finds mixed results and promising signs among state government efforts to balance long-term care (LTC) options under Medicaid. According to the report, only four states spent more than 50 percent of their Medicaid LTC dollars for older people providing home and community based services. In New York State, 74% of Medicaid LTC dollars for older people and adults with physical disabilities who have limited financial resources are spent on nursing homes.

The report, A Balancing Act: State Long-Term Care Reform, is the first to examine Medicaid spending on long-term care for older people and adults with physical disabilities, separate from other LTC users such as people with developmental disabilities.

Nationally, 75 percent of Medicaid LTC spending for older people and adults with physical disabilities pays for institutional care in nursing homes. In contrast, states have done a much better job balancing Medicaid LTC for people with developmental disabilities, spending just 39 percent on institutional care. The majority of funds now support people in home and community-based settings.

"We recognize the success state Medicaid programs are having providing home and community based services to people with developmental disabilities," said Lois Aronstein, AARP New York State Director. "It proves that balancing long-term care is doable and should be used as a model to help states provide home and community based services for older adults."

Also highlighted in the report are best practices from states that are making progress balancing LTC options. Alaska, Oregon, Washington and New Mexico spent more than 50 percent of their Medicaid LTC budget for older people and adults with physical disabilities in 2006 on HCBS. These states embraced a philosophy of delivering services in a way that allowed older people the greatest independence. The ability of some states to accomplish substantial reforms for older people and adults with physical disabilities -- as well as increased HCBS options for the developmentally disabled -- demonstrates that obstacles to balancing LTC options can be overcome.

AARP actively works to increase opportunities for the aging population to age in place with home and community based services. This year, AARP successfully worked for the inclusion of funding for enhanced home and community based services in the New York State budget. The final New York State budget included funding for seven regional caregiver centers including respite services, start-up grants to enable communities to develop support services to enable older persons to age in place and enriched social adult day care services.

The report examines Medicaid LTC funding because it is the primary payer for LTC in the country. "This underscores the need for better government and private sector financing options for long-term care. New Yorkers need more options to plan and pay for their long-term care. Investing in home and community based services can be both cost-effective and responsive to the preferences of older people and adults with disabilities," said Aronstein.

The new report includes state rankings and can be found at:

AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization that helps people 50+ have independence, choice and control in ways that are beneficial and affordable to them and society as a whole. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to either political campaigns or candidates. We produce AARP The Magazine, the definitive voice for 50+ Americans and the world's largest-circulation magazine with over 33 million readers; AARP Bulletin, the go-to news source for AARP's 39 million members and Americans 50+; AARP Segunda Juventud, the only bilingual U.S. publication dedicated exclusively to the 50+ Hispanic community; and our website, AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. We have staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

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