No Place Like Home: Forum Shows Long-Term Benefits of Shifting Healthcare

Issues & Policies

Momentum for transitioning long-term healthcare in Connecticut to more home- and community-based care—which also happens to be one of the top ways to reform state spending and improve services—is picking up speed at the State Capitol.
This week, House Speaker Brendan Sharkey (D-Hamden) hosted a forum on the issue of re-balancing long-term healthcare services and supports that showed how it’s both a fiscal and quality of life issue for the state.
Participating in the forum were members of many Connecticut healthcare agencies who discussed topics such as the growing need for long-term services, funding options, and strategies to improve care and reduce costs.
It’s a critical topic in Connecticut with demand for long-term services expected to increase dramatically as the baby boomer generation ages, and as advancements in medical technologies enable people to live longer.
Policymakers are grappling with how to both decrease the cost of long-term services while also increase their availability to the state’s aging population.
Medicaid spending in Connecticut currently is weighted more heavily toward institutionalized care, but shifting that emphasis to home- and community-based services would allow the state to save a substantial amount of money while also being able to give people the care they may prefer.
Connecticut has already made progress on that front, with a 60-40 institution-based care versus home- and community-based care ratio.
But achieving a 75/25 ratio that favors home- and community-based care could bring the state savings of $675 million by the year 2025, according to the Connecticut Institute for the 21st Century.
Another study, conducted by Health Management Associates for AARP, found that “for the cost of serving just one person in a nursing facility, the state could serve nearly three eligible individuals in the community.”

For the cost of serving just one person in a nursing facility, the state could serve nearly three eligible individuals in the community.

Transitioning to an individual-centered care model that allows a person to choose to age and be cared for in the comfort of their own home also could improve the individual’s quality of life.
According to the state Department of Social Services, people who were happy with the way they lived increased from 62% in an institutionalized setting to 78% after shifting to community-based care.
People saying they were being treated they way that they wished to be increased from 83% to 94% after the transition.
Some state programs, such as the Money Follows the Person Program, could be re-balanced to obtain the needed funding to achieve the desired transition.
These Medicaid dollars can easily be re-allocated to the less expensive home- and community-based care to allow for fluid funding.
More critical is the need to increase awareness of those programs and care services.
Forum participants said that a major determining factor in what kind of long-term care people choose is giving them the information they need to get the care  they require and desire.
Talk also focused on how as Connecticut transitions its long-term care, the state will have to develop a larger workforce of home care workers able to meet the demand of patients.
Another need will be developing and provide housing for these individuals, such as the livable communities incentive, and to increase community awareness of these programs.
Advances in medical technology have been critical to providing individuals the ability to age in place and receive care in their own home while still maintaining a high level of health and security.
With the integration of technologies such as video visits, medication management systems, remote monitoring systems, personal emergency response systems, and development of telemonitoring systems, caregivers will have several tools at their disposal to be able to properly care for a patient while still providing them the freedom and the comfort of their own home.
Technology will help reduce hospital re-admissions and maintain patients’ independence which will contribute to the transition to home- and community-based care.

For more information, contact CBIA’s Louise DiCocco (203.589.6515) | 


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