Long-Term Care: The Involvement of the Government and the Future of Integrated Care

Long-Term Care: The Involvement of the Government and the Future of Integrated Care

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Advances in medicine and preventative care measures have extended the life span of the aging population in the United States. This expansion has resulted in a growing need for more individuals needing long- term care. Long- term care is a broad range of supportive and health services for individuals with a broad range of chronic illnesses and disabilities for ninety days or more. Although this expands an age range from infancy to the elderly, for the purposes of this paper, I am focusing on the aging population. Since health care expenditures in the long-term care industry supersede acute care expenditures, I will address the events that lead to these high expenditures, including an overview of the government’s role, and an integrated care model to reduce inefficiencies.
The two publicly funded government sponsored programs that pay for Long-Term care services are Medicare and Medicaid. Medicare operates at a federal level and provides coverage for short term care also known as post acute care. These services include care in nursing homes, skilled nursing facilities and home health services. According to Ng, Harrington and Kitchener (2010),

An estimated 4.9 million (15%) Medicare beneficiaries received short-term post acute services out of a total of 32 million beneficiaries who used Medicare services in 2007. The total number of Medicare post acute beneficiaries grew by 21 percent, while their expenditures increased by 75 percent. (p. 22)

Review of the expenditures across nursing, home health care and hospice facilities reflects the cost increases were more than double the amount of Medicare beneficiary increases. Medicaid, which is a joint federal and state program, only provides services once the Medicare benefits ...

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...lso added to the escalating costs and continuity of services. Policy makers and consumer advocates are working together to improve the experience and quality of care while reducing healthcare costs, which is particularly important in an industry that has experienced the highest rise of health care expenditures. Past experiences and lessons will hopefully shape the future for this industry with an integrated care system that meets all of the concerns.

Works Cited

Brown, J.R, & Finkelstein, A. (2011). Insuring Long-Term Care in the United States. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 25(4), 119-142.

Ng, T., Harrington, C. & Kitchener, M. (2010). Medicare And Medicaid in Long-Term Care. Health Affairs, 29(1), 22-28.

Reinhard, S.C. (Summer 2013). What Do Older Adults Want from Integrated Care? Journal of the American Society on Aging: Generations, 37(2), 68-71.

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