• Affordable Care Act initiatives to rein in health care costs by truly reforming the health care delivery system, better integrating health services, improving transitions among varying levels of health and long-term care and preventing hospitalizations and re-hospitalizations.
• Active oversight by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
• Provisions of the Affordable Care Act that improve the accessibility of home and community-based services (HCBS), as well as assuring that Medicaid funds services that improve chronic disease management and reduce unnecessary hospitalizations.
• Legislation to correct the problem of Medicare beneficiaries being kept in the hospital for extended periods “under observation” without being admitted as inpatients.
• Legislation recognizing nursing homes as agents of physicians for dispensing pain and other medications to residents.
• Legislation to promote Medicare savings through home health agencies’ use of technology.
• Additional across-the-board cutbacks in reimbursement rates for skilled nursing facilities, home health care and hospice.
• Proposals that would reduce federal Medicaid funding to the states.
Call to Preserve Tax Deductions For Charitable Giving
All 6,000 LeadingAge members are not-for-profit. They serve 4.5 million seniors a year, employing well over one million people and hundreds of thousands of volunteers, The tax benefit not-for-profits receive is based on those responsibilities. The income tax deduction for charitable contributions generates resources that are indispensable for LeadingAge members to carry out their mission of service to seniors. The deduction:
• Is cost effective: The Charitable Giving Coalition documents that, “For every $1 subject to the charitable deduction, communities reap up to $3 in benefits.” As their report says, “It’s unlikely government could find a more effective way to leverage private investment in vital community services.”
• Builds a bridge between public and private resources: As government reins in its spending, a trend we foresee for the next several years, private giving will be essential to fill gaps that ordinary families cannot cover themselves.
• Improves quantity and quality of aging services: Private philanthropy enables LeadingAge members to build housing for low-income seniors, to replace old and outdated nursing homes with new buildings and to make capital improvements that benefit residents. Fundraising also supports benevolent funds that enable LeadingAge members to continue serving seniors whose own financial resources have been exhausted.
• Benefits entire communities: Because they are not-for-profits, LeadingAge members reach out beyond the doors of their facilities to serve individuals in the larger community. Many provide meals, health and supportive services to other seniors. Others provide services to other population groups like students and low-income families.
For more on these policy issues visit www.leadingage.org and in New Jersey www.LeadingAgeNJ.org