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The Choice Should Be Yours

AARP Public Policy Institute, The Commonwealth Fund, and The SCAN Foundation released a groundbreaking report this year, “Raising Expectations: A State Scorecard on Long-Term Services and Supports for Older Adults, People with Physical Disabilities, and Family Caregivers,” which looked at four key dimensions of long-term services and supports performance:

  • Affordability and access
  • Choice of setting and provider
  • Quality of life and quality of care
  • Support for family caregivers

Maryland ranked 24th overall among all 50 states and the District of Columbia. However, one of the most troubling indicators under the choice of setting and provider dimension was Maryland’s rank of 45th in the percent of Medicaid and state-funded long-term services and supports (LTSS) spending going to home- and community-based services.

See Also: Aging in Place State Survey 

People prefer to receive long-term services and supports at home and in the community. Nearly 90 percent of Americans age 50+ say they want to age in place. This is why this issue is at the top of AARP Maryland’s agenda in 2012.

“We are also hearing a lot from people in their 50s who have aging parents,” said AARP Maryland State Director Hank Greenberg. “They want what’s best for their parents – and to do what their parent wants – which often means home care that costs so much less than institutional care.”

In September, AARP Maryland met with the state officials to share the results of the Scorecard and to formally request additional funding for home and community based services in the Governor’s 2012 proposed budget.

In 2011, the General Assembly increased alcohol taxes, the first increase in 40 years. AARP wants to see some of that funding pay for home and community based services and supports so that people are able to have the choice to receive those services at home rather than in a far more expensive setting like a nursing home.

“Currently there are 20,000 Marylanders on the waiting list for services, such as home health care and respite care,” noted Greenberg. “We can and should do better in Maryland.”

AARP is not the only organization in Maryland with this issue on its agenda. Other civic and community organizations throughout Maryland, for example, People Acting Together in Howard (PATH), an interfaith network of active communities in Howard County, have also made this issue one its legislative priorities in 2012.

You can help too. Volunteer with AARP. Contact your state legislator to ask for funding for home- and community-based care.

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