With the arrival of the new year (and very unseasonably mild weather in Chicagoland) it's time for a few predictions for 2012.
A few predictions:
- Assuming continued modest economic growth budgetary pressures on federal and state budgets will continue. With Illinois now having the dubious distinction of the lowest credit rating among all the states (here), there may be impetus to upend previously sacrosanct programs. Treacherous waters loom ahead.
- With 2012 being a Presidential election year, expect no major legislation forthcoming from Washington.
- State budget directors will continue to struggle with accommodating Affordable Care Act (e.g. health care reform) mandates arriving in FY 2014.
- Unified budgeting in Illinois will continue to be an illusive goal. It's difficult to see how Illinois will ever improve it's ranking in the Scorecard, if no serious attempt is made to shift meaningful dollars from SNF to HCBS providers.
- Illinois HCBS providers will continue to fail to embrace unionization of their labor force to their continued peril. SEIU and other unions can be powerful allies in Springfield.
- Illinois CCRC's and other (market rate) senior housing providers will continue to struggle with occupancy. Until residential housing market rebounds, look for continued "move-in specials." Only two elder housing communities are currently under construction in the Chicago area and one is significantly behind schedule.
- With baby boomers reaching age 65 (at the rate of one every eight seconds), expect more articles relating to aging in America (here).
- Republicans will moderate their messaging related to eliminating Medicare (and CMS) at their national convention in Minneapolis-Saint Paul.
- Elder care providers will continue to re-examine their brand and its relevancy in light of continued consolidation of hospitals, health care reform and continued pressure on Medicare and Medicaid rates.
Although these predictions are hardly surprising, they reflect my belief that we are entering a new era in elder care. The most recent era was defined by the creation of the Medicare and Medicaid programs in the mid-1960's: creating reimbursement for health and custodial care delivery to older aldults who previously had little access to either types of care. We seem to be seem to be entering a new era, ushered in by economic, political and demographic changes. This new era will be characterized, in part, by the need to integrate medical care delivery and needed social and mental health services to keep elders in the community longer then the existing HCBS infrastructure can presently accommodate.
What do you think? Let me know and as always, follow me on twitter @aginginchicago