White House Conference on Aging commences

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Long-term care providers are pushing policies to strengthen Medicaid and Medicare, and encourage a coordinated emergency response plan for seniors at this week's White House Conference on Aging.

The conference, which began Saturday, occurs once every decade. Delegates, who are convening in Washington, will examine 73 resolutions developed at forums throughout the country this year, and will select 50 of them. The 50 resolutions and accompanying strategies will help the president and Congress develop national aging policies for the next 10 years.

Nursing home advocates have brought a list of priorities to the conference. Among them: Strengthen and improve the Medicaid and Medicare programs; promote the development of a coordinated federal, state and local emergency response plan; develop a coordinated, comprehensive long-term care strategy; and increase the numbers of long-term care workers.

Other goals: Support geriatric training; encourage health information technology; implement a strategy to sustain the resolutions of the conference; and increase long-term care financing options for consumers.