"Patient-Focused" Long-Term Care is a Powerful Concept

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“Patient-Focused” Long-Term Care is a Powerful Concept,

But Requires Extensive Reform Agenda Outlined in New Policy Report
Achieving reform of long-term care requires an idea powerful enough to resonate favorably with all the various parties involved, including patients and other consumers, those who finance care, public officials, government and providers.

In New York State, newly installed Governor Eliot Spitzer is linking health care reform to the concept of putting the “patient first.”

In long-term care, a patient-centered system is a vision shared by providers and likely by all others. This vision sees an end to the reliance on institutional, residential care settings and an emphasis on home and community-based care.

The authors of a new public policy paper – 15 Steps to Real Reform – a “Patient First” Long-Term Care System for New York – examine what reform measures are needed to transform care into a patient-focused system. While these measures specifically examine the Empire State’s unique situation, the lessons learned and the goals are applicable virtually everywhere.

The goals of reform, or what the authors see as needed, include:

--Pricing based on client needs and the elimination of provider-based cost reimbursement

--All payers of services supporting cost-effective and high-quality care.

--A variety of care settings based on need, including sufficient supportive housing alternatives.

--Professional, coordinated care assistance and automated, electronic information exchange.

--Clear outcome standards and incentives to achieve them.

--A stable, well-qualified work force.

--Delaying or avoiding entry into the Medicaid-financed long-term care system by providing and offering a better use of private resources.

-- Minimizing waste, fraud and abuse.

The paper makes recommendations to achieve each of those goals, some of which are particularly applicable to New York State while many can be applied by any state.

15 Steps to Real Reform was written by Arthur Y. Webb, president and CEO of Village Care of New York; Herbert H. Fillmore, Village Care executive vice president for Senior Choices, and Allison Silvers, director of Village Care strategic grants and contracts.

Village Care is a leading long-term care provider in the New York metropolitan area, serving older adults and persons living with HIV/AIDS.

Copies of the policy paper may be downloaded at http://www.vcny.org/policyforum, or can be obtained by calling (212) 337-5668.