ANOTHER OPINION: Hoosiers ought to have choices for residence care

Problems are puzzling ’s system of care for the elderly.

Nursing homes and long-term care facilities are often understaffed. As a rule, workers receive meager wages. And government regulation and supervision are slack.

The resulting poor care can lead to frustration, anxiety, health complications, and premature death.

FOR MANY HOOSIER Seniors, a better option would be to be cared for at home in a familiar, comfortable, and nurturing environment.

An AARP poll shows that 75% of Americans aged 50 and over prefer living at home when they are old. However, only 45% of Indiana Medicaid beneficiaries receive home care.

This is in part because the ’s system of approving home medical care may seem obnoxious and move at an Ice Age pace.

In January, Indiana Family and Social Services Administration officials unveiled a series of reforms proposed to streamline the process and improve the quality of care for the state’s seniors.

The four-point plan would, in part, allow more Hoosiers to be cared for at home as they get older.

The proposal would simplify a complicated long-term care system that is hopelessly difficult to navigate for many. Hoosier seniors in need of immediate care often check into nursing homes because of the cumbersome approval process for using Medicaid for home health care. Many never check out.

That system would be replaced by a managed care provider that would make it easier for Hoosiers to access a single online portal for information on options.

25 other countries already administer long-term care through such a system. And in Indiana, 80% of Medicaid spending is already coordinated through managed care.

“This will ensure they get the right care at the right time, from the right provider in the right location,” the state’s chief medical officer Dan Rusyniak said in January.

Governor Eric Holcomb’s administration has been pursuing such a comprehensive plan for a number of years. However, the state parliament erected a roadblock by passing a moratorium on a managed care system.

But here’s some good : the moratorium expires in late June, and Senate and bills to extend it died on committee in January.

THE STATE TOO launched a pilot program in October that enabled several Indiana counties to approve home health care applications in less than 72 hours. In the first three months, more than 600 Hoosiers used the system. Typically, Medicaid’s home care approval in Indiana took six weeks or more.

It is clear that the state must move forward quickly to give thousands of Hoosier seniors easy access to these options that would thrive if they could get the care they need at home.

The Herald Bulletin, Anderson

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