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Family Caregivers & Managed Long-Term Services and Supports

Webinar: Family Caregivers & Managed Long-Term Services and Supports

Watch a webinar on PPI’s newly released report, Family Caregivers & Managed Long-Term Services and Supports. The authors will discuss their findings and recommendations. They also highlight practical tools and promising practices in this emerging field of addressing family needs in managed long-term services and supports.

Speakers include: Susan Reinhard, SVP, Public Policy Institute; Lynn Friss Feinberg, Senior Strategic Policy Advisor, Public Policy Institute; and Wendy Fox-Grage, Senior Strategic Policy Advisor, Public Policy Institute.

Interactive questions and answers from webinar participants will follow. To view the webinar click here.

About the Report

This is the first major research paper in this emerging field of managed long-term services and supports (LTSS) that addresses family caregivers’ needs. Family caregivers of people with self-care needs often make it possible for the members of managed care plans to live at home rather than in institutions. Managed care plans, therefore, have strong financial incentives to support these family caregivers, thus improving quality of life and reducing the overall cost of care. Helping to prevent caregiver burnout can delay or prevent costly placement in a nursing home.

Findings

This study finds that managed care can lead the way in advancing person- and family-centered care. This research offers practical tools and guidance for care coordinators who work for health plans. The authors offer critical policy recommendations and model managed care contract language to benefit members with self-care needs and their family caregivers. They also identify four promising practices at various programs and provide innovative solutions and free-of-charge tools from these programs that can be downloaded.

The four promising practices are as follows:

  • TennCare, a state Medicaid program that requires the caregiver’s role to be determined, health and well-being assessed, and training and other needs identified;
  • South Carolina Healthy Connections Prime, a Medicare-Medicaid duals demonstration that is recognized for its caregiver assessment, services, care coordinator training, and quality measurement in family caregiver supports;
  • United Healthcare, which offers caregiver supports in some of its Medicare Advantage plans and Medicaid plans, as well as to some large employers with self-funded health plans;
  • Cal MediConnect Dementia Project, which provides assessment, services, and supports to family caregivers of people with dementia who are participating in California’s Medicare-Medicaid dual demonstration.

Recommendations

1.    Managed LTSS programs should offer appropriate services that address the needs of family caregivers. Not all family caregivers need services, but some do. For these caregivers, services and supports should include family caregiver assessments of their own needs; supportive services such as training, support groups, family meetings, counseling, and respite care that are identified in the assessment; home modifications and assistive technologies; and other supportive services and transportation.

2.    Health plans should recognize and involve family caregivers, especially when the care plan depends on them. Family caregivers should be part of the care planning process upon consent of the member and agreement from the family caregiver. Care coordinators and family caregivers should have each other’s contact information.

3.    Family caregivers’ feedback and involvement can help ensure better quality of care. Family caregivers should be included in health plan evaluations and advisory councils, especially when the members depend on their care.

Conclusion

Although family caregiver supports are still uncommon in managed LTSS, managed care contracts have the power to standardize the person- and family-centered approach that can lead to better care for members and their families.