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PHI Responds to White House Aging Conference’s Long-Term Care Questions

June 5, 2015

PHI has submitted responses (pdf) to several key questions posed by the 2015 White House Conference on Aging (WHCOA) about improving the long-term services and supports (LTSS) system in the U.S.

LTSS is one of four core issues that the WHCOA has identified as especially critical as the baby boomer generation continues to age into retirement, along with healthy aging, elder justice, and retirement security.

In its April policy brief on LTSS, the WHCOA poses such questions as:

  • What could be done to ensure sufficient numbers of highly qualified direct-care workers for now and the future?
  • What could be done to ensure an adequate workforce with the knowledge and skills needed support an increasing population of older Americans with chronic conditions and/or functional limitations?
  • How can we harness technology to assist individuals with their long-term service and support needs?

PHI’s memo to the WHCOA answers each of these questions. For example, PHI recommends improved compensation as a key strategy for attracting more workers into direct care, as well as sufficiently financing the LTSS system and reimbursing LTSS provider for the actual costs of services.

PHI also advises that there be more opportunities for training and makes several recommendations to ensure that our nation has an adequate workforce with the knowledge and skills needed in the coming decades, including that:

  • the outcomes from the PHCAST program be used to promulgate federal minimum training standards for personal care aides, and
  • federal training standards for home health aides and certified nursing assistants be aligned with the recommendations by the Institute of Medicine —  a minimum of 120 hours of training prior to delivering service.

PHI also recommends that opportunities for career advancement for direct-care workers be created, such as through funding pilot projects to develop career ladders.

Additionally, the memo discusses PHI’s Care Connections project, currently underway in New York, as a way to use specially trained advanced aides and telehealth technology interventions to improve care transitions in Medicaid-funded home and community-based services. The targeted telehealth intervention is designed “to maximize the value and impact of the interactions between home care workers” and consumers.

The WHCOA will be held on July 13. More information is available on its website.

— by Matthew Ozga

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