Provider advocates strike hopeful note as LTC Commission meets for the first time

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With mere months to make progress on the deep issues facing the long-term care industry, the Congressional Long-Term Care Commission held its first official meeting Thursday. LTC stakeholders issued statements following the meeting focused on what the group might accomplish, declining to dwell on potential roadblocks it faces.

The commission met in Washington, D.C., and heard testimony from four witnesses in a hearing titled, “The Current System for Providing Long-Term Services and Supports.”

LeadingAge President Larry Minnix praised the commission for seeking to “understand the current system,” and urged it to “focus on the long-term service field comprehensively, not solely on nursing home care; to look beyond traditional service silos; and to examine the inability of the current system to adequately meet people's needs on both a public and private basis.”

The commission should focus on reforms based on quality of care and providing access to the most appropriate care settings, said AHCA/NCAL President and CEO Mark Parkinson. 

The commission “faces the challenging task of meeting that demand with quality long term care options while also addressing important financing questions,” he said.

Congress granted the commission six months to draw up a report, with the clock starting as soon as all 15 members were named. However, member Bruce Greenstein became the subject of federal and state investigations related to possible perjury charges, and was recently replaced.

Given this complication, the commission is pursuing an extension of its deadline, but its report is currently due by the end of September, commission member Judith Stein, executive director of the Center for Medicare Advocacy, recently told McKnight's.

“It is apparent we have an extremely short time frame to address a vast array of issues,” commission member Neil Pruitt, AHCA chairman and CEO and chair of UHS-Pruitt Corporation, said following Thursday's hearing.