Federal Commission on Long-Term Care: Friday Deadline Approaches

The America Taxpayer Relief Act (Act) of 2012 provides for a new federal Commission on Long-Term Care (Commission) to develop a plan for:

the establishment, implementation and financing of a high-quality system to ensure the viability of long--term services and supports for individuals, individuals with substantial cognitive or functional limitations, other individuals who require assistance to perform activities of daily living, and individuals desiring to plan for future long-term care needs.

The appointments are to be made no later than 30 days after enactment of the Act (January 2, 2013) which is Friday, February 1. Of course, federal commissions can be adept at issuing (seemingly) well articulated goals, but feasible and impactful recommendations may elude their final reports. The 1990 Pepper Commission final report, whose goal for long-term care reform was broad and far-reaching and yet its recommendations were a hodge-podge of vague aspirations (e.g. funding a research and development program to deal with long-term care illnesses) along with solid policy ideas (e.g. creation of a prospective payment system). It's hit or miss.

Considering the political climate in the nation's capital, it will be interesting to see who the Republicans and Democrats appoint to the Commission.

The Commission 15 members will include appointments made by the President (3) along with six appointments by Democrats (three from the Senate and House) and six appointments by Republicans (three from the Senate and the House). An additional Commission members will represent the interests of elder care consumers, family caregivers, healthcare workers, employers, State Medicaid agencies private long-term care insurance providers among others.

Once the members of the Senate and House are appointed, it will be easier to ascertain the likelihood that the Commission's plan will be meaningful and politically acceptable to the various Congressional constituencies. Similarly, the ability of the Commission to attract the skilled staff necessary to move quickly and efficiently through the thicket of reports, recommendations and data relating to the provision of quality elder care will be essential. 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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