Agency Calls for Coordination in Long-Term Health Care Services
Health care programs for the elderly andÂ individuals with disabilities in California are uncoordinated, confusing and "woefully unprepared" to handle the increased demand for services expected in the near future, according to a report by the Little Hoover Commission, the Sacramento Bee reports.
Under current law, the state is required to offer services -- including adult day health care and In-Home Supportive Services -- to help keep low-income residents out of nursing homes and other institutions. California's long-term care system serves more than one million low-income residents and costs the state an estimated $7 billion annually.
The commission, a bipartisan watchdog group, found that the state's long-term care system for the elderly and residents with disabilities lacks a reliable way of determining individuals' needs, how much services cost and which programs work best.
According to the report, the system wastes money through inefficiencies such as duplication of services and overuse of emergency department care.
In addition, the report points out that the issue of long-term care will become even more critical as the baby boomer generation ages. The number of seniors in California is expected to double in the next 20 years.
The commission recommended that services be consolidated under a "care champion" at the state's Health and Human Services Agency to streamline and better manage programs and finances (Hubert, Sacramento Bee, 4/30).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.