Pennsylvania is ranked 39th in the nation in long-term care according to a score card released last week by AARP's Public Policy Institute, the Commonwealth Fund and the SCAN Foundation. All 50 states and the District of Columbia were rated. Minnesota scored first overall and Mississippi scored the lowest overall, coming in 51st.
If Pennsylvania could improve to the level of the best-performing state many positive consequences would result:
- 15,350 more new users of Medicaid Long-Term Services and Supports (LTSS) would first receive services in home and community based settings instead of nursing homes.
- 4,338 nursing home residents with low care needs would instead be able to receive LTSS in the community.
- 5,674 unnecessary hospitalizations of people in nursing homes would be avoided.
Pennsylvania’s performance was particularly dismal in the areas of affordability (47th) and support of family caregivers (46th).
According to the score card report, the states at the very highest levels of performance have enacted public policies designed to:
• improve access to needed services and choice in their delivery by transforming their Medicaid programs to cover more of the population in need and offer the alternatives to nursing homes that most people prefer;
• facilitate access to information and services by developing effective “single point of entry” systems so that people who need services can find help easily; and
• address the needs of family caregivers by offering legal protections as well as the support and services that can help prevent burnout.
The scorecard is available online at http://www.longtermscorecard.org/