Minnesota, Washington and Oregon may have the best long-term care systems available to residents, industry experts say, but all states have a long way to go to offer adequate services for the elderly, sick and disabled.A report released by AARP’s Public Policy Institute, The Commonwealth Fund and The SCAN Foundation found that states collectively need to improve vastly in areas such as home care, assisted living, nursing home care and support for family caregivers. Additionally, most states need to more efficiently spend the money they allocate to long-term care.
The report measures state systems using 25 indicators in four categories, using data from a variety of sources.
The three states who performed the worst — Mississippi, Alabama and West Virginia — had a limited number of providers, very little support services available for family caregivers and fewer private long-term care insurance policies available for residents.
Minnesota, Washington and Oregon, on the other hand, offered a wider variety of alternatives to nursing homes, such as home health aide services. These states also had lower rates of hospitalization for nursing-home occupants and other long-term care recipients.
AARP said, in general, that the highest-performing states have enacted public policies designed to improve access to services, which was accomplished by transforming Medicaid programs to cover more of the population in need and offer the alternatives to nursing homes most people prefer.
These states also have policies that use effective “single point of entry” systems so people needing services can find help easily. These systems address the needs of family caregivers by offering legal protections as well as the support and services to help prevent burnout.
Other states performing in the higher percentile include Colorado, Kansas and Maine. New York, Indiana and Florida all placed in the lowest percentile. You can find out how your state measured up on LongtermScorecard.org.
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