Just when you thought our political leaders couldn’t possibly shake up the healthcare industry any more than they already have, politicians in the State of New York figured out how to do just that.
An October report released by officials outlines a plan to keep more LTC patients in the community and out of nursing or adult homes. The plan sets a goal of a 10 percent reduction in the number of long-stay nursing home residents over the next five years and a corresponding increase in the availability of housing and services in the community.
This may come as unwelcome news to an industry that relies on keeping the bed count full to ensure profitability.
Long-term-care patients who need help walking or are wheelchair-bound used to have to move into a nursing home. That changed last month when Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a law allowing state-designated assisted living programs to care for people needing an extra level of mobility support.
These are people who need functional assistance, but not necessarily around-the-clock nursing care. The State of New York is of the opinion that letting people stay where they are is better for the residents.
Although this point remains debatable – particularly in light of the fact that these elderly patients may have no family or friends to keep a watchful eye out on them – the fact that New York would ordinarily be footing the bill for patients residing in LTC facilities may have played a greater role in this decision.
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Ultimately, the ones left holding the proverbial bag here are the LTC facilities themselves.
Which leads us to procurement solutions. GPO services. Utilization management.
These things will become the universal standard; the need to drastically reduce expenditures will now be kicking into overdrive. And it took a questionable government initiative aimed at keeping the elderly and infirm in their houses to bring that point home.