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Washington State Tops List in Long-Term Care Report

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Wednesday, June 14, 2017   

SEATTLE - Washington tops the list for providing long-term care options for its residents in a report released today.

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

Bea Rector, assistant secretary of aging and long-term support administration at the state Department of Social and Health Services, said Washington state provides a range of services for people as they age.

"We have created in Washington a very nice continuum of care that includes in-home options, licensed residential options, such as assisted-living facilities and adult family homes, as well as nursing homes for folks that need the 24/7 access to skilled nursing care," she said.

Even though the state ranks number one in this report, Rector said, there still is room to improve. She said her agency is rolling out initiatives this year for affordable-housing options and employment for people with disabilities.

Among the state's accomplishments is the CARE Act, which requires that hospitals notify and consult with caregivers before patients are discharged. Rector said Medicaid also is a critical part of the care system, especially as the number of older Washingtonians doubles in the next 20 years. Proposals by the Trump administration and in the U.S. House health-care bill would cut more than $1 trillion dollars from Medicaid - but Rector said that without the program, long-term care would be out of reach for many.

"Medicaid pays for about 60 percent of all nursing-home beds in Washington state," she said, "and Medicaid picks up all of the public payments associated with community-based care."

Rector added that family caregivers still are the backbone of the caregiving system. More than 820,000 Washingtonians provide care for loved ones.

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


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