Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Planning for Long-Term Living/Care in PA

The Executive Branch of Pennsylvania government continues to consider the consequences of an aging population that may require extended living or care arrangements.

As to citizens' private efforts, on June 19, 2008, the PA Governor's Office issued a Press Release entitled "
Rendell Announces Record Response to Pennsylvania’s ‘Own Your Future’ Long-term Care Planning Effort".

Governor Edward G. Rendell said today that more than 200,000 people have requested Own Your Future planning kits since March, when Pennsylvania launched its outreach effort urging individuals to take a more active role in planning their own long-term care needs.

The federal government says Pennsylvania’s 13 percent response rate is approximately double the rate seen by any of the 16 states that took part in similar outreach efforts. The typical response rate reported by states is between 5 and 7 percent.

“The strong response to our Own Your Future campaign suggests that Pennsylvanians are seriously considering their future long-term living needs,” Governor Rendell said. “Individuals who begin planning today will have a broader range of options available to them in their later years, which can help to ensure greater financial security and peace of mind.”

By 2020, one in four Pennsylvanians will be age 60 or older. Many consumers are not aware that Medicare does not cover the cost of many long-term care services. * * *

As to public efforts on behalf of citizens, on June 21, 2008, the PA Department of Aging published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin (PA Bulletin, Doc. No. 08-1166) a Notice establishing the Senior Care and Services Study Commission.
The purpose of this notice is to announce the establishment of the Senior Care and Services Study Commission (Commission) under the act of June 30, 2007, (P. L. 49, No. 16) (Act 16). See 62 P. S. §§ 801-D--803-D.

Act 16 provides for the establishment of the Commission for the following purposes:
  1. Reviewing the care, services and resources available to Commonwealth residents 65 years of age or older.
  2. Projecting the future need for care and services through the year 2025.
  3. Evaluating the ability of the current assessment and delivery systems to meet the projected service needs.
  4. Projecting the resources necessary to meet the projected need and making policy recommendations as to how the projected need can best be met considering the resource limitations that may exist at the time the Commission completes its work. * * *

The Senior Care and Services Study Commission was created under House Bill 1367, enacted as Act 16 of 2007, which also extended the sunset date on the nursing home provider assessment, and confirmed the rate cap authorized by the General Assembly & the appropriations process.

According to the Hospital Association of Pennsylvania, which supported the bill into enactment in 2007, the "Senior Care and Services Study Commission [will be] responsible for projecting future needs for senior care services and making recommendations on how to meet those needs. The commission [will consist] of 19 persons, including one individual representing hospital-based nursing facilities."

The Governor
appointed some members of the Commission during February, 2008, as confirmed in a Press Release, dated February 22, 2008:
  • Mark Greene, of Waukesha
  • Kevin Hefty, of West Reading
  • Vicki Hoak, of Camp Hill
  • Shikha Iyengar, of Murrysville
  • Crystal Lowe, of York
  • Joseph Murphy, of Elizabethtown
  • Marlin Peck, of York
  • Alvin Poppen, of Fayetteville
  • Florence Reed, of Homestead
The appointment of another member, Eileen M. Sullivan-Marx, of Broomall, was announced in a Press Release dated May 12, 2008.

The making of such appointments without further delay had been advocated by interested groups, such as the
Lutheran Advocacy Ministry.

The Press Release noted that the last appointment to the new Commission was made by the Governor in May:
Under Act 16, the date of the establishment of the Commission shall be the date the last member is appointed to the Commission.

The date of the last appointment occurred May 1, 2008. Therefore, May 1, 2008, shall be considered the date of the establishment of the Commission. * * *
This new Commission joins other Pennsylvania governmental groups concerned with long-term care.

Its future studies may supplement or update prior reports delivered to, or issued by, the Pennsylvania Intra-Governmental
Council on Long-Term Care, including: