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Seniors moving to HCBS face more hospital risk
Date:1/8/2014

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] Seniors want greater access to home- and community-based long-term care services. Medicaid policymakers have been happy to oblige with new programs to help people move out of expensive nursing homes and into cheaper community or home care. It seems like a "win-win" to fulfill seniors' wishes while also saving Medicaid programs money, but a new study of such transitions in seven states finds that the practice resulted in a 40 percent greater risk of "potentially preventable" hospitalizations among seniors dually eligible for Medicaid and Medicare.

"We are trying to move people into the community and I think that is a really great goal, but we aren't necessarily providing the medical support services that are needed in the community," said Andrea Wysocki, a postdoctoral scholar in the Brown University School of Public Health and lead author of the study published online in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. "One of the policy issues is how do we care for not only the long-term care needs when we move someone into home- and community-based settings but also how do we support their medical needs as well?"

Wysocki said her finding of a higher potentially preventable hospitalization risk for seniors who transitioned to community- or home-based care suggests that some medical needs are not as well addressed in community settings as they are in nursing homes. More vigilant and effective treatment for chronic, already-diagnosed ailments such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease could prevent some of the hospitalizations that occur.

There are two likely reasons why care in home and community settings is not as effective in preventing hospitalizations, Wysocki said. Nursing homes provide round-the-clock care by trained nurses and doctors, but workers with much less medical training provide community- and home-care services. In addition, while Medicaid pays for long-term care, Medicare
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Contact: David Orenstein
david_orenstein@brown.edu
401-863-1862
Brown University
Source:Eurekalert

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