New federal agency to focus solely on LTC?

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The Department of Health and Human Services would create a separate, new agency that would deal solely with long-term care issues, if official recommendations from a panel of experts are accepted in December at the White House Conference on Aging.

The official list of recommendations from the White House Conference on Aging's Long-Term Care Mini-Conference held in spring was released last week. Among other suggested actions from the august group of more than 125, which included numerous provider representatives:
* Congress and the Administration must provide coverage for all Americans through public and private mechanisms.
* There should be reform of public and private funding programs, in concert with states, to remove institutional biases -- which would be seen as a diminishment of traditional nursing-home funding means and levels.
* The federal government should establish an office to address long-term care workforce issues.

The White House Conference on Aging is held just once every 10 years and has been a catalyst for major changes in the past, including the creating of the Medicare and Medicaid programs in the 1960s. It will next take place Dec. 11-14 in Washington.