Federal commission makes long-term care recommendations

The federal Commission on Long-Term Care has released two dozen recommendations aimed at easing access to long-term care services and broadening delivery options for care services. But the commission, while signaling its broad intent for “a sustainable balance of public and private financing for long-term services and supports,” failed to endorse any specific program to meet the often burdensome financial challenge to those in long-term care.

Instead, Commission Chair Bruce Chernof seemed to suggest a national dialog on how to improve and make long-term care more affordable is much overdue. He announced a public session for Wed., Sept. 18, to formally announce the recommendations.

“This is an issue that has been brewing for decades,” Chernof said. “I hope both the bipartisan nature of this report and the suite of ideas garnering broad agreement dispels the myth that our nation’s long-term care crises is just too hard a problem to tackle. We must work to improve our approach to serving Americans with functional and cognitive limitations and their families, realizing that the time to act is now.”

Two recommendations sure to draw the interest of Medicare service recipients and providers are: 1) to eliminate the 3-day hospital stay requirement for skilled nursing home Medicare coverage and 2) to reconsider the requirement that Medicare recipients receiving home care be “homebound.”

The Commission’s press releases and summary of recommendations can be viewed at: http://www.ltccommission.senate.gov/prseptember13.cfmF

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