A report compiled by the AARP ranks states on how well they provide long-term services and supports (LTSS). It suggests that states must accelerate how quickly they are able to provide such services to meet the needs of aging baby boomers.

Although most states have made some progress, the pace of change overall remains too slow and has not kept up with demographic demands, according to a media release from AARP.

“This Scorecard sounds the alarm, but it also provides a range of tools states can use to spark new solutions and create systems that are aligned with the new realities of aging and living with a disability,” said Susan Reinhard, RN, PhD, senior vice president and director, AARP Public Policy Institute, in the release. “The proposed cuts to Medicaid—the largest public payer of long-term assistance—would result in millions of older adults and people with disabilities losing lifesaving supports.”

The AARP Foundation, The Commonwealth Fund, and The SCAN Foundation funded the scorecard, which ranks states based on their performance on LTSS in five main categories.

These categories, per the release, are: affordability and access; choice of setting and provider; quality of life and quality of care; support for family caregivers; and effective transitions between nursing homes, hospitals, and homes.

States are then scored on their performance in 25 specific indicators within the five categories. These include Medicaid spending, nursing home cost, home health aide supply, antipsychotic medication use in nursing home residents, long nursing home stays, employment rate of people with disabilities, and support of working caregivers.

According to the release, Washington, Minnesota, Vermont, Oregon, and Alaska, were the top five states, respectively. The five bottom states, respectively, were Indiana, Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee.

“This new Scorecard shows that it’s time for all states to accelerate care improvements for older adults and people with disabilities,” states Bruce Chernof, MD, FACP, president and CEO of The SCAN Foundation, per the release. “States that consistently rank at the top have strategically planned for their aging population across the main sectors of health, housing, transportation and family caregiving.”

Commonwealth Fund President David Blumenthal, MD, adds, however, that with the baby boomer generation facing greater health needs over the next few decades, the scorecard suggests that states are still falling short of where they need to be to address those needs.

“We need to begin now to make care for elders and people with disabilities more available in homes and communities—where many people prefer to be—instead of in institutions like nursing homes,” he shares in the release.

[Source(s): AARP, PR Newswire]