Commission fails to reach consensus on long-term care

A commission created by Congress to plan for long-term healthcare needs issued its recommendations but failed to agree on how to pay for them, Kaiser Health News reports.

The commission did reach consensus on several recommendations, proposing the following:

  • the implementation of criminal background checks for long-term care workers;
  • the inclusion of family caregivers in the care-planning process;
  • use of technological advances to share information;
  • improvement opportunities and conditions for direct care workers; and
  • amended scope of practice rules to provide better opportunities for nurses.

The report had bipartisan support, with five Republicans and four Democrats favoring it, but was rejected by five Democrats and one Republican. While the panel could not reach a consensus as to how to pay for long-term care, it did make recommendations for existing programs, such as allowing Medicaid access for disabled workers and doing away with the Medicare requirement for beneficiaries to have a three-day hospital stay to get nursing home coverage.

According to Politico, the commission members who rejected the proposals are expected to issue their own plan for financing long-term care. "We know that the biggest problem facing long-term care is that there's no insurance mechanism to protect us against the risk," Urban Institute's Judith Feder, who was appointed to the commission by Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.), told Politico. "The commission essentially punted on the most critical issue and did not make a recommendation on that."

According to the article, the legislation that created the commission contains no requirement that Congress address or implement its recommendations.

A 2011 Kaiser Family Foundation report found that although long-term care users made up only about 6 percent of the healthcare population in 2007, they accounted for 43 percent of total Medicaid spending, FierceHealthcare previously reported.

To learn more:
- here's the Kaiser Health News article
- read the Politico article
- check out the commission's summary of recommendations