A new report ranks states on the quality and accessibility of their long-term care services and concludes there is a lot of room for improvement. The 2014 State Long-Term Services and Supports Scorecard finds that quality of care varies enormously across the states, but affordability is a big issue nationally.
The scorecard, a collaboration between the AARP, The Commonwealth Fund, and The SCAN Foundation, measured states’ long-term care system performance in five areas: affordability and access, choice of setting and provider, quality of life and quality of care, support for family caregivers, and effective transitions between care settings. Minnesota, Washington, Oregon, and Colorado ranked the highest while Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee ranked the lowest. The groups conducted a similar study in 2011.
According to the report, even in the highest-ranking states the cost of long-term care is unaffordable for middle-income families. The report notes that "on average, nursing home costs would consume 246 percent of the median annual household income of older adults."
States with a Medicaid system that functioned as an adequate safety net – reaching those with low and moderate incomes -- ranked higher on the scorecard, indicating that state public policy is important to improving care overall. The scorecard concludes that while some progress is being made, it is not enough to meet the needs of the growing elderly population.
To see where your state ranks, click here.