November 20, 2009
Contact: Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR
619-997-2495 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Health Care Reform Threatens Availability of Home Care Services
Cutbacks, rationing could affect ability of seniors to stay in their own homes
(San Diego) – If predictions about current health care reform proposals become reality, the home care industry will be forced to deal with cuts to Medicare home health providers of $43.2 billion over 10 years, and another $7.9 billion to hospice care providers over the next decade (National Association for Home Care & Hospice Report, October 13, 2009).
Laurie Edwards-Tate, MS, President of At Your Home Familycare in San Diego, California, says this reality hits just as the need for services to support an aging population is expanding at a faster rate than ever before. In 2009 the market for in-home care nationwide is projected to reach approximately $15 billion. Yet current plans call for a 17% cut in federal money to the home care services industry
“Even though all segments of health care would be cut, home health services are being cut disproportionately,” said Edwards-Tate. “This makes zero sense on so many levels when the need for these services is exploding.”
Edwards-Tate says the challenge transcends individual politics. “There is a basic issue we can all agree on: it is far cheaper to take care of people in home care and maintain their independence as long as possible as opposed to an acute care setting,” she notes. “With cutbacks, fewer seniors and families will have access to services and the result means more seniors being removed from their homes to institutional settings.”
Today, there are 36 million adults age 65 and over in the United States. This population is expected to nearly double to 70 million over the next 30 years. With an increasing average life expectancy for Americans reaching over 75 years of age, the need for senior care will continue to escalate.
Greater emphasis will now be placed on the private citizen to find ways to afford home care aide services, ranging from tapping savings, getting family help, long-term care insurance, or reverse mortgages.
Edwards-Tate urged support of pending legislation that could provide some relief. The Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) Act is a proposed, additional long-term care provision included in the Senate Finance Committee's health reform legislation. The CLASS Act would create a national, voluntary disability insurance program under which: (1) all employees are automatically enrolled, but are allowed to waive enrollment; (2) payroll deductions pay monthly premiums; and (3) two-tiered benefits are provided, based on the level of disability, to purchase non-medical services and supports that the beneficiary needs to maintain independence.
It would make about $27,000 per year in assistance available to those who need it and that would take a big chunk out of the financial obligation, according to the Private Duty Homecare Association.
In the view of the ARCH National Resource Center for Respite and Crisis Care Services funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, "The CLASS Act would create a solvent, affordable, premium-based, national insurance program providing cash benefits that can be used for assistance with the activities of daily living to help people avoid becoming impoverished by spending down Medicaid eligibility levels.
“As a private duty provider with 25 years of experience, we know people prefer to be taken care of at home. And at some point, although economics are very important, humanity is important too. We cannot lose sight of this,” said Edwards-Tate.
NOTE: For more information on The Class Act, visit www.passtheclassact.org
About At Your Home Familycare
Established in 1984, the mission of At Your Home Familycare is to make a positive difference in the quality of life for the communities it serves, especially on behalf of senior citizens, disabled adults, and youth, by providing caring, reliable, and affordable non-medical home care. AYHF President and Founder Laurie Edwards-Tate, MS, is a native San Diegan and a pioneer in the non-medical home care aide services industry. Edwards-Tate was among the first to recognize the growing need for services allowing individuals to remain independent created by the aging baby boomer population. Now celebrating its 25th year in business, AYHF is one of San Diego County’s Top 50 Women-Owned Businesses and Top 100 Fastest Growing Businesses in San Diego, and enjoys a reputation for upholding the highest possible standards among its employees and its emphasis on customer service.
AYHF is online at www.atyourhomefamilycare.com; on Facebook at www.facebook.com/atyourhomefamilycare, and Twitter at @AYHFamilycare The phone number is 888-FAM-CARE (326-2273).