The frail, elderly and disabled will remain a high priority for Gov. Tom Wolf, according to an April 3 statement from the Pennsylvania Health Care Association and the Center for Assisted Living Management (PHCA/CALM) in Harrisburg.
CEO Stuart H. Shapiro praised Wolf for his attention to the Commonwealth’s aging population. Shapiro cited the increasing demand for long-term care services.
“The goal now is making sure they continue to get the services they need to live a healthy, safe, high-quality life with the dignity and respect they deserve,” he said.
Shapiro voiced his approval during a taping of “Pennsylvania Newsmakers,” a statewide public affairs television program, now available to the viewing public on www.phca.org.
Specific areas of focus in the governor’s 2015 to 2016 budget address were the expansion of home and community-based services (HCBS) for over 5,500 residents, plus expedited home health care availability. While conceding that nursing home care is sometimes safer and more economical, Shapiro lauded the advancements, adding that both options require adequate funding.
“When it comes to long-term care, people want to stay at home -- and they should, for as long as it is safe and for as long as it is cost-effective,” Shapiro said.
Because the state’s Medicaid program falls short of covering actual costs, PHCA/CALM is seeking a 2.4 percent increase in payments to nursing homes as the cost of care continues to rise; furthermore, it is looking for continued funding for the state’s Medicaid Access Program, which incentivizes facilities serving high Medicaid populations.
Shapiro also mentioned the need to protect Pennsylvania facilities from frivolous lawsuits by predatory attorneys, often from out of state.
PHCA/CALM advocates statewide for elderly citizens and their caretakers. Members include for-profit, nonprofit and government entities, representing over 450 long-term care provider organizations.
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