AARP ranks Washington #1 for long-term care

Dr. Don Benz

The state of Washington is the best in the nation when it comes to supporting seniors, adults with disabilities and their family caregivers, according to a new report from AARP.

The top ranking appears in the Long-Term Services and Supports (LTSS) State Scorecard, released last week by AARP, Commonwealth Fund and Scan Foundation.

States are ranked on their performance across five categories: 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.  Within the five categories, states are scored on their performance in 25 specific indicators, including Medicaid spending, nursing home cost, home health aide supply, support of working caregivers and more.

Washington received high scores for its balance between institutional services and home- and community-based services, the state’s supply and availability of alternatives to nursing homes, and for making improvements in the percent of Medicaid and state funding that goes to older people and adults with physical disabilities.

“We are proud to be recognized as a leader in the nation and look forward to continuing to innovate in order to serve our growing population of older Washingtonians, said Bill Moss, acting secretary for the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services. “We are fortunate to have a strong network across the state of caregivers, providers, social workers, nurses, and many others who help Washingtonians continue to have a choice in how they live their lives.”

“Washington state has always led the way on health care, and now AARP confirms that our state’s long-term care policies foster individual dignity and choice so people can be cared for at home and in their communities,” added Governor Jay Inslee in a press release. “All of these important gains are now threatened because of actions in Congress to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act with deep cuts to long-term care services and support. As Medicaid is the largest insurer of these services, many seniors will lose coverage. I will fight to make sure our seniors and others are getting the services they need so that Washington state can continue to be the best in the country.”

Minnesota, Oregon, Vermont and Alaska rounded out the top five on AARP’s Scorecard.

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