LTC commission issues warning, few solid plans

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A 22-member bipartisan panel headed by former U.S. lawmakers warned on Monday that the country is not ready to fund, yet alone care for, its growing wave of elderly residents.

In releasing their 94-page report, commission leaders also bemoaned the lack of attention long-term care has received from presidential candidates. In a poll also released Monday by the National Commission for Quality Long Term Care, 94% of respondents said long-term care reform is important - yet the majority of them were unclear on what the biggest payer of long-term care is.

Committee leaders former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Sen. Bob Kerrey said more emphasis has to be placed on long-term care financing at the national level, but they did not state a clear vision for how it should ultimately be addressed. Gingrich worried about creating more federal bureaucracy but added, "We don't think it can be truly voluntary or purely private."

The commission recommended that the federal government should set quality of care standards; encourage greater workforce retention and incentives; assist in electronic record promotion; and push individuals to provide more financing, while expecting certain limited roles from government and the private sector.

For more on the report or the commission, which will cease to exist at the end of the month, visit www.ncqltc.org/.