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Thursday, September 27, 2007

Utah Lawmakers Propose Freeze of Funds for Long-Term Care Facilities

I just read yet another article from one of this week's newspapers about long term care. Author James Thalman writes about elder care in the Deseret Morning News , Sept. 20, 2007, in an article titled "At Home Elder Care Touted" and a subtitle "Lawmakers propose freeze on state funds for long-term care facilities". This week articles in the The New York Times and the San Luis Obispo Tribune also focused on long term care.

The article says that Utah senior advocates, government agency representatives, and care providers want a freeze put on government funds spent on public funds that are used for long term care facilities.

Alan Ormsby, director of the state division of Aging and Adult Services is quoted in the article. He said, "This is simply recognizing that the traditional skilled nursing as a care center model of caregiving is on the way out...When you can provide safe and more effective services at home and at a sixth the cost for most seniors, we have to at least begin moving in that direction."

The article goes on to describe the transition that has been taking place for 10 years in Utah, where a variety of in-home services, and day care have been used as part of a nursing home placement diversion program.

I was puzzled by this article. In the article it also said the "average cost of in-home services was $3,700, the average nursing home cost is $72,000." The amount of $3,700 for a year's worth of in-home services seemed pretty low to me, and some other things were also puzzling.

There were eight comments listed that readers had posted. One comment said that "it cost a lot more than $3,700 to care for a loved one at home". I agree, and am wondering what is included in the $3,700.

Another said, "Has anyone given any thought to how much of a burden this puts on the families?"

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