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The DOJ delivers the Comey memos to Congress. Also on our rundown: More evidence that rent prices are out of reach in many markets; Wisconsin counties brace for sulfide mining; and the Earth Day focus this weekend in North Dakota is on recycling.

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Scorecard: Better Long-Term Care Needed in Hoosier State

Indiana ranked low in overall care for older adults. (Lorie Tuter)
Indiana ranked low in overall care for older adults. (Lorie Tuter)
July 5, 2017

INDIANAPOLIS - Indiana has some improvements to make in the way seniors and adults with disabilities are taken care of, according to a new report.

The latest Long-Term Services Supports State Scorecard gave the state a 51, while other nearby states fared better. Indiana scored low for affordability and accessibility, choice of settings and providers, and support for family caregivers.

On a positive note, said Evan Reinhardt, executive director of the Indiana Association of Home and Hospice Care, Indiana has increased its number of home health-care workers. He said he also believes it's hard to compare one state to another.

"It's very difficult to say that you're making apples-to-apples comparison between Indiana and Ohio or Indiana and Michigan," he said, "even when you try to control for population factors or other factors that might influence the data."

Michigan got a rating of 22 overall, Illinois got a 30, Ohio received a 34 and Kentucky's score was a 50. The report was issued by AARP, the Commonwealth Fund and the SCAN Foundation.

Laura Holscher, executive director of the Area 13 Agency on Aging and Disability at Vincennes University, said she expects Indiana will have a better score in the next report because the state has made some progress recently, including more training for providers, case managers and counselors. Plus, there's been a change in the long-term care pre-admission process.

"It was outdated, it was over 30 years old, and we hadn't made any changes to it," she said. "So we really modernized what we were doing for pre-admission screening and the eligibility - screening people as to whether they should be in the nursing home or whether we could find other services for them."

Reinhardt said another area that could be improved is consumer feedback. He said family caregiver voices need to be heard.

"The family's experience is often influenced to a certain degree by the provider that they receive services from," he said, "so it's difficult for them to say this is how we perceive the state to be performing."

The report suggested that to make improvements, another 110,000 adults with disabilities would have Medicaid coverage, and $1.2 billion would be spent on home-based services rather than nursing homes.

The scorecard is online at longtermscorecard.org.

Veronica Carter, Public News Service - IN