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We’re always leery of governmental intrusion into healthcare. Here’s another example:
California lawmaker proposes integrated system of long-term care
SACRAMENTO, CA – Building on the outrage over proposed cuts to long-term care programs, the California Senate Committee on Health has moved along a bill which seeks to create an integrated system of long-term care, helping seniors stay in their homes and reducing healthcare costs.
With the state grappling with a $26.6 billion budget deficit, some have proposed cutting funding for long-term care programs such as adult day healthcare. Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposal to eliminate all funding to the state’s adult day healthcare programs was scaled back by half.
State Sen. Carol Liu (D-Pasadena) has re-introduced SB 21, which had been introduced last year as SB 998 but was stuck in committee.
“This year the bill has support from the hospital association, the association of skilled nursing facilities, organizations in the disability rights community and organizations of seniors,” said Liu. “At the bill’s policy committee hearing, it had support from Democrats and Republicans, passing on a 7-2 vote. I hope that’s a sign of good things to come.”
Built on similar models in Oregon and Washington, Liu’s bill would create an integrated system of long-term care that would provide case management and assessment for some individuals and transition services for those who need long-term care but want to remain in their homes or return to their homes after surgery or other medical procedures.
Some have questioned whether the state can afford to fund such a program – even if there are savings to be had in the long run.
“This is the $64,000 question – and maybe the $64 million question,” said Liu. “We must be able to make a credible argument that the up-front costs of social workers will quickly generate savings in skilled nursing facility and other group home costs.”
Liu and the bill’s supporters are hoping changes to federal law will bring opportunities for increased funding. They also believe that savings will come from a reduced need for institutional care and through Medi-Cal waivers.
Liu said the potential for savings exists both for the state and the federal government.
“If we can bring that average length of stay down by sending people home or transferring them to less intensive settings, then we will definitely slow the rate of growth of Medicaid and Medicare costs,” she said.
Source URL: http://www.healthcarefinancenews.com/news/california-lawmaker-proposes-integrated-system-long-term-care