Long-term care payment crisis requires major reform, experts say

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Tweaks to the Medicaid program will not solve the growing financial burden of long-term care, according to speakers at a recent Avalere Health audio-conference.

Policy analysts and long-term care stakeholders told the audio-conference attendees that changes and steps made to long-term care under the recent healthcare reform law are not enough, the Bureau of National Affairs reported. Nursing homes are facing a two-pronged problem, according to Alan Rosenbloom, president of the Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care: The average Medicaid payment shortfall per patient per day is getting worse, while nursing homes also are seeing an increase in the amount of care patients require. And impending cuts to the Medicare program will likely make it more difficult for nursing home providers to cross-subsidize the cost of care with reimbursements from the seniors' healthcare program.

Finding ways to better align care across various healthcare settings could help spur better outcomes, Rosenbloom said. But regardless of the solution, speakers at the audioconference agreed that difficult conversations lie ahead for long-term care, according to BNA. Matt Salo, director of the Health and Human Services Committee at the National Governors Association, joined Rosenbloom on the audio-dais.