Letters to the editor

As a state with one of the oldest populations in the country, Pennsylvania must invest now to support home- and community-based care for seniors and individuals with disabilities.

Of the 200,000-plus individuals eligible for long-term care in Pennsylvania, more than 115,000 are eligible for home- and community-based care. Unfortunately, Pennsylvania has underfunded home care so chronically and for so many years that home care providers simply cannot provide care to all in need.

Yet consider:

1. Seniors want to age in the comfort and dignity of their own homes. A recent poll shows that 88% of Americans prefer care at home to any other option.

2. With chronically low Medicaid reimbursement rates, home care providers are simply unable to compete for qualified caregivers. About 98% of providers report turning cases away.

3. Facility-based care, while necessary for some, is the wrong option for many. It should not be the default for seniors needing long-term care. If the COVID-19 public health emergency showed us anything, surely it showed us that.

4. Home-based care is half the cost of facility-based care, often with better outcomes. In fact, the average monthly cost of nursing home care is $10,403, compared to $4,957 for home care services.

5. Members of the Pennsylvania Legislature must do more to help their aging and disabled constituents receive care at home, as they work to finalize this year’s state budget. Most of us will require some assistance as we age. Where do you want to receive care?

Go online to pahomecare.org to send a message to your legislators, letting them know it’s time to make an investment in home care in this year’s budget. It’s long overdue.

C.J. Weaber

Vice President of Business Development and Strategy

Angels on Call

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