Friday, February 20, 2009

Screw the Seniors?

The word is clear from the Rell budget proposal -- screw the seniors. As a nurse, I am very interested in the health care proposals, and right now there are too many moving parts to really make much sense of things.

But let's start the discussion with some information about how seniors get health care. Medicare pays for hospitalization and for nursing home care -- but the nursing home is only covered for as long as the person is making daily progress / improvement. Home care -- nursing, therapy, aides to help with personal care -- are only covered by Medicare when the person is homebound (meaning their condition makes it too difficult for them to leave their home to access services) and for intermittent care that has some expectation of improvement so that the care will end at some point.

Medicare does not pay for nursing home care for folks who are not able to care for themselves at home and need to live in the nursing home. Medicaid, the state program for the poor, will pay for this residential care for seniors who spend down their assets or who don't have any assets to begin with.

It costs about $211/day to keep a person in a nursing home, or about $75,00o/year. In 2006, the most recent year for which data is available, 68% of CT's long-term care expenditures went to institutional care for 49% of the people served. The other 51% percent of poor seniors were helped at home, with 32% of expenditures. That means we can keep people in their homes for half the cost of putting them in nursing homes.

So what does Gov. Rell want to do? Reduce the funding of this home care program. These poor seniors are not going away -- and if she pulls the funding for home care, the state will be on the hook for care that costs twice as much in nursing homes.

Can someone explain to me how this makes sense?

5 comments:

CT Bob said...

"Can someone explain to me how this makes sense?"

In RellWorld it doesn't need to make sense! If seniors suddenly start showing up at hospitals and nursing homes for expensive emergency care, she'll just say it was unanticipated expense, and our next budget will be that much higher.

Foresight is something sadly lacking from our myopic governor.

Anonymous said...

So what does Gov. Rell want to do? Reduce the funding of this home care program. These poor seniors are not going away -- and if she pulls the funding for home care, the state will be on the hook for care that costs twice as much in nursing homes.

If the owners of the nursing homes are contributors to rell's election fund or other activities it makes perfect sense
corruption from the fed to the state and all involved in government seems to be the rule rather than the exception in this brave new world

Anonymous said...

Thanks Kirby. That was of great interest to me.
Why yes Bob, I can explain how to make sense of this. The people of Connecticut, at the least are intelligent enough to almost always split their vote at elections, so when the leader of one party makes a dumb suggestion the majority of the the other party tells them to pound sand.
Getting back to my interest. I'm a 79 year old senior who still lives in an two family apartment with my son (and his two daughters on weekends.) I have freinds who live in the several large Federal senior apartments on ML King Dr. in New Britain. When I visit there I see lots of people in wheelchairs or walkers with all kinds of tubes and such hanging off them but still getting around and proud of it.
It seems we need a good ombudsman. KIRBY? J.C. Sr.

Kevin said...

Lots of Democrats supported Rell in the last election. I could never figure out why. This is on them. I hope they are the ones effected. I doubt it , but it would be poetic justice.

West Haven Bob said...

Perhaps Rell could save even more money by lifting the smoke detector & sprinkler requirements in our nursing homes...