The nation is gearing up for President Obama’s final State of the Union address in his current presidential term, but the American Health Care Association (AHCA) announced today that there are plenty of topics within long-term care that should also be addressed.
“Our profession has made great strides, yet we are struggling to meet growing demand in the light of diminishing federal and state funding,” said Governor Mark Parkinson, President and CEO of AHCA/NCAL, in a statement that detailed the industry’s progress with quality improvement, hospital readmission reduction, and health care options for seniors. “That significant progress could all be put at risk if policymakers continue to avoid serious discussions centering on how we are reimbursed.”
For the second year in a row, AHCA is launching a series—the State of Long Term and Post-Acute Care—which illustrates developments in the industry such as improvement in care quality measures, consistency with culture change, and the hiring of more doctors in facilities.
The association expressed concern over the possible impact of future budget cuts that could impact care quality, especially with Medicaid suffering at the state level and under constant threat of cuts, according to AHCA.
“The financing systems upon which this profession is dependent—Medicare and Medicaid—affects all areas of the profession and is often unstable,” AHCA said on its website. “In considering the state of reimbursement for nursing care centers in 2012, there has never been a more critical time to ensure a stable and consistent funding system for the patients and residents we care for each day.”
The industry has seen positive trends in quality improvement since 2009, and nursing facilities have improved in all short-stay quality measures, according to the association.
Another topic that bears national consideration is the state of assisted living. In 2012, the National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL) will fight to make assisted living an available option to low-income seniors through Medicaid Waiver programs.
“Ideally, you’d like to see the President of the U.S. acknowledge the growing health needs of Americans, then single out the elderly population,” said Greg Crist, vice president of public affairs at AHCA. “They will be among those with the greatest needs, yet [they’re faced with] dwindling access to resources and possibly even care providers.”
Written by Alyssa Gerace