Long-Term Care in Idaho: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
New AARP Report Takes a Deep Dive into Gem State Care for the Elderly & Disabled– Details State Successes & What Needs Work
BOISE, Idaho, May 25, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- When it comes to how Idaho cares for its elderly and disabled, the state is ahead of the curve in some areas and right behind the eight ball in others, according to a new AARP report taking an in-depth review of long-term care services and supports (LTSS) in the Gem State.
The report analyzes the results of AARP's long-term care scorecard for Idaho, finding the state earning an overall rank of 19 nationally, meaning 32 states scored lower – showing where Idaho leads and lags the nation on crucial elder care matters. Idaho was one of three states across the nation chosen as a case study state because, for the most part, Gem State LTSS rankings fell right in the middle. (Minnesota was also chosen because it ranked first overall and Georgia was picked because it ranked poorly).
The Good: Idaho ranked 8th in the nation for helping elderly and disabled residents to age in their setting of choice, excelling in balancing LTSS dollars in Medicaid toward providing home and community based services (HCBS), as opposed to costly nursing home care.
A key factor in achieving this is rooted in a decades old decision to eliminate all waiting lists for HCBS – the move leaves very few people in state nursing homes requiring a low level of care. The focus has also meant good news for Idaho's budget. The demand for more popular care in the community has not led to spending increases, because the costs are so much lower than nursing home care. Promoting care in the community has not led to the "woodwork" effect that some states have feared.
Idaho also ranked well in its support for caregivers (12th in the nation). A key factor cited for the ranking were laws allowing nurses to delegate many health maintenance tasks to home care workers, helping family caregivers provide more care in the community.
Hospital admissions from nursing home and home health care are also very low, Idaho ranks 5th in the nation in the area.
The Bad: Idaho's scored last in the nation in the functionality of its Aging and Disability Resource Centers (ADRC), where residents should be able to get the information they need to find information and resources on the care that's right for them or a loved one. Idaho moved from having the centers located in the community, to simply having it on-line. The move has created barriers to people learning about care options. However, there is a bright spot; the Idaho Commission on Aging is actively working to improve that score and soliciting feedback to make it happen. Members of the public are encouraged to provide their comments and ideas on-line: http://www.aging.idaho.gov/documents/documents.html.
The Ugly: Idaho ranked 41st in the nation when it came to "tools and programs to facilitate consumer choice." This score is due to Idaho's lack of using "presumptive eligibility" to speed up access to home and community based services. Idaho faces a challenge in integrating the provision of services from its Medicaid program with those offered through the Commission on Aging. There are few formal linkages between these departments which function under separate government agencies. As a result, eligibility determinations are not coordinated.
Even though Idaho has high staffing levels compared to the rest of the county, nursing home staffing turnover is high and Idaho ranks 45th in the nation in the area.
The state also rates relatively low (36th) in "legal and system supports for family caregivers." One reason is that, while the needs of caregivers are assessed, there are few services to help them.
Bottom-line: While Idaho has made significant gains in some areas of addressing the needs of an aging population, there remains much work to increase affordability and access. The full Idaho LTSS case study can be found online: http://www.longtermscorecard.org/.
AARP has 180,000 members in Idaho.
SOURCE AARP Idaho
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