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Oregon Ranks High in Long-Term Care; More Work Needed

A new report ranks Oregon fourth overall among states for its long-term care system. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
A new report ranks Oregon fourth overall among states for its long-term care system. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
June 14, 2017

SALEM, Ore. - Oregon ranks fourth in the nation for providing long-term care options for its residents, according to a report released today.

The report measures the care available in states based on accessibility, choice and quality, and also assesses their support for family caregivers and the transitions between health facilities and home.

Jon Bartholomew, AARP Oregon's government relations director, said Oregon is doing well compared with other states at providing quality, long-term care and supporting caregivers, "but there is more that can be done and we will continue to fight to improve the system, make it more accessible and affordable for everybody, and support our family caregivers."

More than 470,000 Oregonians help take care of loved ones, and the state ranks at the top for its support of family caregivers. However, Bartholomew said Oregon could add paid family and medical leave, as other states have done. Among the state's accomplishments is the CARE Act, which requires that hospitals notify and consult with caregivers before patients are discharged.

Bartholomew said Medicaid is another part of the caregiving matrix. Proposals by the Trump administration and in the U.S. House health-care bill would cut more than $1 trillion from the program. Without that funding, Bartholomew said, lots of Oregonians would go without care.

"This creates a potential of massive amounts of lost funding for Oregon's Medicaid long-term care system," he said. "This Medicaid system is for our most vulnerable citizens, the people who are low-income and high needs."

He said aging Baby Boomers are putting new demands on the caregiving system, and the report signals that the country needs to be ready to provide them with quality care.

The new AARP report, which was compiled jointly by AARP, the Commonwealth Fund and the SCAN Foundation, is online at longtermscorecard.org.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - OR