By Rod Burkett of BMA Management, Ltd.
Rick Banas of BMA and I joined with more than 100 members of the Assisted Living Federation of America (ALFA) in Washington, D.C., last week to advocate for Assisted Living on Capitol Hill.
Also part of the Illinois delegation of AFLA that participated in the ALFA 2012 Advocacy Fly-In were Jerry Finis of Pathway Senior Living, Chris Laxton of Life Services Network of Illinois, Rodger Lederer of Willis global insurance, and Georjean Sweis of Addus HealthCare, Inc.
We were able to meet with Congressmen Peter Roskam and Joe Walsh and with legislative staff members serving in the offices of Congressmen Jerry Costello, Danny Davis, Timothy Johnson, Adam Kinzinger, John Shimkus, and Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky.
A Wonderful Alternative
We talked about the differences between senior living and assisted living communities and nursing homes. As one legislative aide told us, they were all lumped together in his mind as institutional nursing home care until his grandmother moved into a senior living community. He was so pleasantly surprised to see the difference. Assisted living provides the opportunity for older adults to live in a residential environment and receive the personal assistance and support services they need to maintain their independence.
Choice, Independence & Dignity
We highlighted ALFA’s focus on promoting and protecting choice, independence, dignity, and the quality of life for older adults.
Oversight at the State Level
We discussed why the oversight of Assisted Living should remain at the state level. All 50 states now have regulations in place that govern the operation of Assisted Living communities. Adding federal regulations on top of the state regulations would only add to the cost of developing and operating Assisted Living communities, making Assisted Living more expensive.
The Most Cost-Effective Option
We pointed out that numerous studies are showing that living in an Assisted Living community is the most cost-effective option for those who need personal assistance and help with their medications to maintain their independence.
- The Market Survey of Long-Term Care Costs published by the MetLife Mature Market Institute in October 2011 compares the cost of living in an Assisted Living community versus in a nursing home. Nationally the average annual cost for Assisted Living was $41,724 compared to $78,110 for living in a semi-private room in a nursing home. This represents a savings of more than 46%. Nationally, the cost of a private room in a nursing home was $87,235. In Illinois, the average cost for Assisted Living was $44,460 compared to $78,840 for living in a semi-private private room in a nursing home. This represents a savings of nearly 44%.
- A study published last year by the SCAN Foundation showed that Assisted Living saves Medicare millions of dollars. Over the course of one year, Medicare spent approximately $4,300 less on health care for a person who lived in Assisted Living or a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) than a person who required supportive services and was living in their own home or apartment. The figures reflect Medicare spending for inpatient hospital, outpatient hospital, physician, emergency department, skilled nursing, home health and hospice services. With more than 200,000 individuals living in Assisted Living or a CCRC, this represents a yearly savings to Medicare of $870 million dollars. The study also indicates that Medicare expenses for a person in a nursing home are almost $600 a year higher than for a person in Assisted Living or a CCRC.
- Here in Illinois a program called Supportive Living benefits the State and Federal Governments as well as older adults and their families. The cost for a person on Medicaid living in an affordable assisted living community that operates through the Supportive Living program is at least 40% less than if the person were living in a nursing home.
We stressed the importance of the Federal Government continuing to support Medicaid-waivers for programs such as the Illinois Supportive Living program and the importance of Assisted Living communities being considered a home and community-based service for purposes of Medicaid-waivers.
A decision by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to adopt proposed rules that would reclassify virtually all Assisted Living communities as an institutional-setting or a decision by the federal government to do away with Medicaid-waivers for Assisted Living would have a significant negative impact on the 133 Supportive Living communities in operation in our State. Together, these communities serve on average 6,000 individuals on Medicaid.
Without Supportive Living, only two options would be available for these 6,000 individuals. They could move into a nursing home, which would cost Medicaid about $300,000 a day more. They could stay where they currently are living, which studies show would cost Medicare $25.8 million a year more.
“BMA Management is the leading provider of affordable assisted living in Illinois
and one of the 20 largest providers of assisted living in the United States.”
Tags: ALFA, ALFA 2012 Advocacy Fly-In, Assisted Living Federation of America, assisted living in Illinois, Assisted Living on Capitol Hill, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Congressman Adam Kinzinger, Congressman Danny Davis, Congressman Jerry Costello, Congressman Joe Walsh, Congressman John Shimkus, Congressman Peter Roskam, Congressman Timothy Johnson, Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, Continuing Care Retirement Community, Keith W Wood, Medicare, Rick Banas, Rod Burkett, senior living, State and Federal Governments, supportive living, The BMA Blog