LTC Bullet: LTC "Memorial" is a Model for States

Thursday, February 26, 2004

Seattle--

LTC Comment: Like most states, New Mexico faces a huge social and fiscal challenge from long-term care. Unlike some states, forces are mobilizing there to do something about it. More after the ***news.***

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LTC BULLET: LTC "MEMORIAL" IS A MODEL FOR STATES

LTC Comment: Last month, Center President Steve Moses and gerontologist Dr. Ron Lucchino, an advocate for the Alzheimer's Association, spent a week in Santa Fe, New Mexico visiting long-term care stakeholders. They shared their common view that a fresh assessment and a new approach to LTC service delivery and financing is much needed and long overdo. Thoughtful state administrators and legislators agreed. The following "memorial" passed the necessary germane committees in the House of Representatives and the Senate. (A memorial is an unfunded sense of the legislature resolution in New Mexico.) It passed in the House, but barely missed reaching the floor in the Senate before time ran out on the legislative clock. Nevertheless, a start has been made and we encourage other states to take a similar step toward objective review and creative reform of their long-term care programs.

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SENATE JOINT MEMORIAL 72

46th legislature - STATE OF NEW MEXICO - second session, 2004
INTRODUCED BY
[Senator] Dede Feldman

A JOINT MEMORIAL REQUESTING THE STATE AGENCY ON AGING TO LEAD A STUDY ON THE FINANCIAL IMPACT OF FACILITY-BASED CARE ON THE MEDICAID BUDGET AND IDENTIFY ALTERNATIVE MODELS OF FINANCING SUCH CARE.

WHEREAS, the population of New Mexicans over the age of sixty-five is growing and will almost double by the year 2020; and

WHEREAS, due to medical advances, people are living longer, but not necessarily healthier, lives; and

WHEREAS, the population of people over the age of eighty-five is growing twice as fast as that of people over sixty-five, and these are the most frail of the elderly; and

WHEREAS, a large and growing number of aging people are suffering from the ravages of Alzheimer's disease and are unable to care for themselves; and

WHEREAS, the medicaid program in New Mexico covers the cost of nursing home care and home- and community-based services for the elderly and disabled and provides in excess of two hundred twenty-one million dollars ($221,000,000) in combined state and federal funding for these services; and

WHEREAS, the private cost of nursing home care is unaffordable for most people in need of nursing home care and therefore most families have come to rely on medicaid to fund this level of care for their elderly relatives; and

WHEREAS, people are finding it relatively easy to qualify for medicaid long-term care services, despite seemingly restrictive eligibility rules, and this relaxed access has resulted in an entitlement mentality regarding the financing of these services; and

WHEREAS, use of private, out-of-pocket and insurance financing of these long-term care services has languished while medicaid costs have skyrocketed; and

WHEREAS, long-term care insurance, home equity conversion and other alternative mechanisms for private financing of long-term care services have been little utilized;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO that the state agency on aging be requested to lead a study with the cooperation of the human services department and appropriate statewide organizations representing aging and long-term care services to study the financial impact of facility-based and home- and community-based care on the medicaid budget and identify alternative models of financing such care; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this study identify appropriate incentives to encourage self care and the use of insurance, explore potential ways to limit asset identification and asset transfers and promote maximum medicaid estate recovery; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the state agency on aging support the efforts of a statewide organization representing the needs of people with Alzheimer's disease, and others as appropriate, to hold a conference exploring alternative models of financing long-term care services; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the state agency on aging develop recommendations on implementation of alternative mechanisms for financing long-term care services and report its findings and recommendations to the interim legislative health and human services committee at its October 2004 meeting; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the state agency on aging and the human services department notify appropriate statewide organizations representing aging and long-term care; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that copies of this memorial be transmitted to the state agency on aging and the human services department.