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New AARP Report Finds Older Americans Have Limited Access to Home and Community-Based Services Under Medicaid
Date:7/14/2008

In Pennsylvania, 90 percent of Medicaid LTC funds for older people spent on nursing homes

WASHINGTON, July 14 /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. Unfortunately, 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 (HCBS). In Pennsylvania, 90% of Medicaid LTC dollars for older people and adults with physical disabilities who have limited financial resources are steered to 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 mental retardation/developmental disabilities (MR/DD).

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 MR/DD, spending just 39 percent on institutional care. The majority of funds now supports 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 mental retardation/developmental disabilities," said AARP Pennsylvania State Director Dick Chevrefils. "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."

As part of its Commonwealth Long-Term Living Project, Pennsylvania set a goal of 50 percent home-based care to 50 percent institutional care for all long-term care populations by FY 2011-12. Unfortunately, the recently passed 2008-09 state budget included no new
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SOURCE AARP Pennsylvania
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