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Pennsylvania Implements Changes To Shift to Home-, Community-Based Care

Armen Hareyan's picture

Home, Community Care

Pennsylvania is taking steps toimplement a "state strategy to shift more individuals into homeand community care," the PittsburghPost-Gazette reports. According to the Post-Gazette,the administration of Gov. Ed Rendell (D) has "beefed up fundingof home-assistance programs intended to keep people out of nursinghomes" and is "preparing financial incentives to encouragenursing homes to eliminate skilled-care beds." In addition, newassisted-living regulations "are being developed that will addgovernment financing for people who require only some supervision."The state also has offered financial assistance to nursing homes thatare willing to shift their focus to alternative types of care.

Michael Hall, state deputy secretary of long-term living,said that the shift to home- and community-based care will save thestate money. "If we're spending $70,000 or $80,000 a year on anursing home bed, and I can take that bed off line, I can buy a heckof a lot of home- and community-based services and help a lot morepeople," Hall said, adding, "It's about rebalancing thesystem and services so we have a healthier array of morecost-effective services that do better in meeting consumerpreferences."

According to the Post-Gazette,nursing homes "don't view themselves as an endangered species"because "there will always be a severely limited portion of thepopulation needing help." Paul Winkler, president ofPresbyterianSeniorCare, said, "Our position has been it's not aneither-or decision" between funding home and community care andnursing homes, adding, "The whole idea is to look at gaps, howto fill them, how to do reimbursements, the whole continuum ofservices" (Rotstein, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 1/6).

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