Sen. Pappageorge opens dialogue on long-term care in Michigan
Friday, May 18, 2007
LANSING - The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the Department of Community Health convened a hearing on the status of long-term care in Michigan Thursday at the request of state Sen. John Pappageorge, R-Troy.
"This is an extremely important issue that is near and dear to my heart," Pappageorge said. "We need to ensure that Michigan provides a true continuum of care for residents who need long-term care - the system needs to offer consumers options and must be economically viable. There is already an enormous demand on the system and with our aging population growing it is only going to get worse."
The number of elderly in Michigan is expected to increase 70 percent between 2000 and 2030. Approximately 10 million people in the United States need long-term care, including 6 million elderly and roughly 4 million children and working age adults.
Pappageorge is hopeful the hearing will help provide the spark needed to move forward with reforms that ensure an integrated, viable, quality-based and consumer-friendly system.
"Work groups appointed by both Governor Engler and Granholm concluded that Michigan's Medicaid long-term care system, which finances 70 percent of the nursing home care for the elderly and persons with disabilities, is fragmented and difficult to navigate," Pappageorge said. "Without change, this system is not sustainable and will continue to put pressure on the state's ability to fund other critical programs and services."
Of the nearly $2 billion Michigan spends on Medicaid long-term care, more than 80 percent is spent on nursing home services and less than 20 percent on community based services and supports.
In 2004, the majority of states devoted at least 30 percent of their total Medicaid long-term care funding to community based care, while Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Wyoming, New Mexico, Minnesota and Vermont all spent more than 50 percent. The national average was 35.5 percent.
"We have to be willing to change - otherwise Michigan will reach critical mass when our long-term care dependent population outgrows the funds available to help pay for its care," Pappageorge said. "This hearing was helpful. We need to have a solid understanding of where we are at and where we need to be - taking consumer needs, opportunities for improvements and challenges faced by providers of long-term care services into account so that we can get a handle on this and prepare for the future."
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