A newly published survey called “Raising Expectations” by AARP, The Commonwealth Fund and the SCAN Foundation, is a report card for nursing facilities across the country.
The news for us in Texas isn’t good, reports Howard Gleckman in this Forbes piece on this new study, published June 25, 2014. The research finds that on average the most affordable facilities are in Oklahoma, the District of Columbia, Utah, Kansas, Missouri, Georgia, Texas, Iowa, Louisiana, and Arkansas. But nearly half of those states—Oklahoma, Utah, Kansas, and Texas– rank in the bottom 10 for at least 2 of the study’s 3 quality measures. Texas and Oklahoma rank near the bottom for all three.
Most of Mr. Gleckman’s piece describes how unable most Americans are to pay for their own long-term care. I will concentrate instead the correlation between low cost and low quality care.
In Texas, Medicaid nursing home reimbursement is one of the lowest in the country.
Nursing homes are not where anyone with great wealth or long-term care insurance chooses to receive care.
If nursing homes are paid less than it costs them to actually provide care (as they are in Texas), the result is a cascade of problems, including but not limited to insufficient, underpaid caregivers, inappropriate admissions (accepting extremely needful people in order to get the census up), increased safety and health hazards, patient negligence and warehousing, the list goes on.
The American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance (www.aaltci.org) states that approximately 80 percent of long-term care insurance (LTCi) claims are not for nursing home care. LTCi gives policyholders the ability to instead stay at home or access assisted living. My own experience is that very few of the approximately 300 LTCi client claims I’ve seen paid were for nursing home care.
Because a great many people choose to ignore the need for responsible long-term care planning and are therefore unprepared to pay when the need for care arises, the majority of long-term care in the US is paid for by Medicaid (Welfare). If you don’t plan and you don’t own LTCi, you are greatly increasing your odds of ending up in a nursing home.