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Report says Health Reform can keep more
Older Adults out of Nursing Homes
, 2010/PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In
recognition of the six month anniversary of
the health reform law, a new report from the
National Senior Citizens Law Center, with
support from The SCAN Foundation, calls on
states to use the implementation of the
Affordable Care Act (ACA) to end Medicaid's
long-standing bias toward funding long-term
care in institutional settings such as
The report, "10 Plus Years Since the
Olmstead Ruling: Progress, Problems and
Opportunities," describes steps forward and
problems encountered since the landmark
Supreme Court Olmstead ruling in 1999.
In that ruling, the Court held that the
unjustified isolation of people with
disabilities in institutions is a form of
unlawful discrimination under the Americans
with Disabilities Act.
"The true message from the Olmstead ruling
is that we need to create a long-term care
system that is less reliant on keeping
someone in a nursing home," says NSCLC
"The implementation of the health reform law
provides a unique opportunity to ensure that
many more low income older adults receive
long-term care in their homes and
communities where they prefer to be."
In defining problems, the report quotes the
health reform law: "Despite the... Olmstead
decision, the long-term care to our Nation's
elderly has not improved." In fact, for
many, it has gotten far worse."
It goes on to say that while every state has
chosen to provide home and community based
services (HCBS) under the Medicaid waiver
program, services provided are "unevenly
available within and across States" and are
not reaching many people.
The report calls on states to participate in
expanded HCBS options that are part of the
health reform law. Examples include the
Money Follows the Person program, which the
ACA amended to make it more accessible.
Financial incentives are also available
through the State Balancing Incentive
Payments Program. It also suggests that both
the federal and state governments improve
the quality of care and for Congress to
emphasize HCBS in the 2011 reauthorization
of the Older Americans Act.
Since the ruling, according to the report,
progress has been made. Many individuals
have successfully transitioned from nursing
homes to community settings, but waiting
lists for community services have grown
As a result, many people have been unable to
obtain the care and services they desire.
The report also maintains that the ruling,
which has been the basis of many legal
efforts to compel states to expand HCBS
offerings for older Americans, sets the
stage for increased emphasis on the use of
"The Olmstead ruling was vital because it
changed both law and practice," said
MD, president and CEO of The SCAN
Foundation. "Improving our system of home-
and community-based care for vulnerable
seniors is a tremendous step towards
allowing Americans to age how they want and
where they want."
The report concludes that increased use of
HCBS would bring more dignity and
independence to the lives of persons
requiring LTSS, and has great potential to
reduce federal and state costs as well.
The report can be found at
www.nsclc.org under the News tab.
National Senior Citizens Law Center is the
only national non-profit whose principal
mission is to protect the rights of low
income older adults.
Through advocacy, litigation, and the
education and counseling of local advocates,
we make the law work to ensure their health,
economic security and continued access to
NSCLC has offices in
Los Angeles, CA.
For more information, visit
The SCAN Foundation is an independent,
non-profit foundation dedicated to advancing
the development of a sustainable continuum
of quality care for seniors that integrates
medical treatment and human services in the
settings most appropriate to their needs and
with the greatest likelihood of a healthy,
The SCAN Foundation supports programs that
stimulate public engagement, develop
realistic public policy and financing
options, and disseminate promising care
models and technologies. For more
information about The Scan Foundation, visit
SOURCE National Senior Citizens Law Center