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VA long-term care facilities rank low on national scorecard

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Friday, September 29, 2023   

A new report finds Virginia's long-term care facilities need improvement to better serve their residents.

AARP's Long-Term Care Services and Supports Scorecard ranks Virginia at 28th among states. While the state has ranked high in terms of affordability and access to long-term care, it scores lowest in safety and quality, as well as support for family caregivers.

Jared Calfee, state advocacy director for AARP Virginia, said nursing home financial transparency is one of several priorities the group will take up at the General Assembly next year.

"Our nursing facilities, they largely operate with a lot of taxpayer money coming from Medicaid," Calfee pointed out. "The public has a right to know how that money is being spent and what's being dedicated to staffing and providing quality care, versus what is going to profits and paying administrators."

Other areas on which he noted AARP Virginia would focus include providing aid to family caregivers, licensure, and enforcement of both state and federal rules on staffing. However, with many seats in both chambers of the General Assembly up for election, Calfee acknowledged it is too early to tell what kind of progress might be made.

The scorecard also reflects trends stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. Calfee emphasized nursing homes have been and continue to face issues, particularly with staffing, which surfaced due to the pandemic.

"When you don't have adequate staffing, and you have staff coming and going -- who aren't able to stay in facilities and get to know people -- then that's what you end up with, is facilities that are not as high-quality as you would want," Calfee asserted. "And it's the residents who then end up suffering because of that."

He added stronger policymaking will be necessary to make progress. Bills on nursing home staffing requirements failed in previous years, but the General Assembly was able to pass a law this year. However, it does not go into effect until July 1, 2025.

Disclosure: AARP Virginia contributes to our fund for reporting on Consumer Issues, Health Issues, Hunger/Food/Nutrition, and Senior Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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