Expert Roundtable on Improving Long-Term Care Services

Representatives from governor’s offices and aging experts discuss shared challenges and solutions.

Expert Roundtable on Improving Long-Term Care Services

This past June, Donaghue was pleased to sponsor, along with The SCAN Foundation, National PACE Association and National Association of Areas on Aging, the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices Health Division expert roundtable on “Improving the Health and Well-Being of Aging Populations: Surfacing Best Practices for States to Provide More Efficient and Effective Long-Term Care.”

Hemi Tewarson, Director of the NGA’s Health Division, opened the roundtable by stating the NGA’s rationale for convening the group. “The NGA Health Division works on a broad portfolio of issues that are critical to governors. In the last couple of years, there has been a growing interest among states in new strategies to improve care and reduce costs for their large and growing aging populations. Our goal today is to highlight state innovation and identify opportunities to support governors and state leaders in driving toward those objectives.”

Subject matter experts from the Altarum Institute and the Kaiser Family Foundation along with NGA staff framed the issues and guided the discussions among the 40 attendees. State leaders responsible for policies and service delivery to Medicaid recipients and the elderly residents in their states and national experts discussed a range of ideas on the future of long term support services.

Melinda Becker, NGA Health Division Program Director, noted that “a number of states have identified innovative ways to better integrate long term support services and medical care, support caregivers, prevent or delay the need for institutional care, and much more. It is critical to bring those innovations into the forefront and support states in learning from one another.”

Based on participants’ written evaluations collected at the end of the day, the roundtable’s mission was accomplished. One participant wrote “great conversation. It was great to network with others working on these issues.” And another said the meeting provided a “breadth of perspectives, [from] states and others, and great facilitation.”

Donaghue’s Vice President Nancy Yedlin attended the roundtable and found the day’s discussions of issues related to the delivery, quality and financing of long term support services helpful as the foundation considers ways to improve its grantmaking related to aging. As noted in another article in this issue (see page 7) Donaghue will not be making new grants in 2019 in its Another Look Program. “After five years of making grants in the Another Look program, we’re taking a pause to review how we’ve structured the program. We want to determine if there are changes we should make that might strengthen the studies we support to be more useful or responsive to what is needed to improve care for elders. The NGA roundtable provided us with a window into what is happening in the field right now and the kinds of evidence policymakers and program sponsors are looking for to help them provide high quality, cost effective care and support to elders with long term care needs and their families.”

In the fall, NGA will release a publication summarizing key findings from the roundtable discussion, including challenges and opportunities for governors to improve the health and well-being of their aging and disabled populations.