Illinois Ranks 23rd on AARP Scoreboard

As the Illinois budget battles get underway, I am republishing a post covering the current status of long term care services and supports in Illinois, which I first published on October 30, 2011. I'll return next week with a fresh post.

We've come a long way....but still have far to go...

Last month, AARP's Public Policy Institute published a comprehensive new report titled, "A State Scorecard on Long-Term Services and Supports (LTSS) for Older Adults, People with Physical Disabilities, and Family Caregivers." This report is a must read for anyone who is concerned with the LTSS infrastructure in Illinois (here).

The scorecard is designed to help states improve the performance of their LTSS systems so that older adults in all states can maximize their independence and well-being. As loyal readers of this blog can attest, public policy plays a singular role in LTSS  by establishing who is eligible for assistance, what services are provided, how quality is monitored and how family caregivers are supported.

Illinois received an overall ranking of 23, placing the Land of Lincoln firmly in the 2nd quartile overall. The scorecard examines LTSS system performance across four dimensions: (1) affordability and access; (2) choice of setting and provider; (3) quality of life and quality of care; and (4) support of family caregivers. Each dimension is then subdivided into indicators (there are 25 indicators overall). For example, an indicator of the quality of life and quality of care dimension is: "Nursing home staffing turnover: ratio of employee terminations to average number of active employees." In this indicator, Illinois ranked 2nd in the nation. Hurray for us!

The states in the top tier have public policies designed to:

  • improve access to needed services and choice in their delivery by transforming their Medicaid programs to cover more populations in need and offer the alternatives to nursing homes;
  • facilitate accces to information and services by developing effective "single point of entry" systems so that people who need services can find help easily; and
  • address the needs of family caregivers by offering legal protections as well as support and services.

The leading states generally scored in the top half of all states across all dimensions, but no state scored in the top quartile of all indicators, demonstrating that even the best performing states had room for improvement. Poorer performing states often are among those with the lowest median incomes, and the highest rates of both poverty and disability.

The report also found that the cost of LTSS is unaffordable for middle-income families (no surprise there). The recent demise of the CLASS Act would seem to indicate that in the near future there will be no substantial mechanism to ease the burden to middle-income families.

The scorecard reveals the wide variation of LTSS systems among the states and concludes that the lack of a single LTSS payment system along with other trends such as median income income levels and disability rates, are among the forces driving the variation. What do you think?

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    Bruce Lederman has over 25 years experience in the senior care field as a direct care provider and thought leader. Bruce was CEO and president of his own firm that operated skilled nursing facilities in Illinois. He is a former nursing home administrator and has consulted to numerous elder care providers on planning for strategic growth as well as process improvement. Recently he served as board chair of CJE SeniorLife, a leading non-profit elder care provider in the Chicago area. Bruce is currently employed as chief strategy officer for a company providing skilled nursing services in communities throughout Illinois and Missouri.

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