California Lawmakers Study Home Care Options for Elderly Residents
A joint legislative panel on Wednesday held a hearing to address how hospitals can better plan after-care services for elderly patients after discharge, the Sacramento Bee reports.
Experts told members of the Assembly Aging and Long-Term Care Committee and the Assembly Health Committee that shorter hospital stays have left discharged patients without adequate after-care plans.
Barbara Biglieri, policy director for the California Association for Health Service at Home, said about 25% of patients return to the hospital within the first week after discharge, and 56% return within three weeks.
Home care advocates testified that state and federal Medicaid regulations deter patients from seeking home care services, even though such treatment costs significantly less than care at a hospital or nursing facility.
Experts are calling for an overhaul to those regulations to help California manage the cost of caring for an aging population.
Lynn Daucher, director of the California Department of Aging, said the state is developing a plan to improve elderly patient care. She added, "California has received a lot of money, in drips and drabs, that will help us with these transition issues from hospital and nursing facilities."
Toby Douglas, deputy director of the Department of Health Services, said the department is also developing a "coordinated care management pilot program" (Rojas, Sacramento Bee, 10/4).
Video of the hearing is available on The California Channel's Web site (The California Channel Web site, 10/4).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.