As the population of older Americans continues to grow at a historical rate, issues related to long-term care have become correspondingly important. To help seniors and their loved ones gain valuable information about long-term care in their states of residence, AARP conducts in-depth research and releases a Long-Term Services and Support (LTSS) Scorecard every three years. The recently released 2023 LTSS Scorecard ranks the State of Minnesota number one in the nation! A Grand Forks attorney at German Law explains the Long-Term Care Services and Support Scorecard and why it ranked Minnesota number one.
America Is Aging and in Need of Long-Term Care
The United States population is aging at a historical rate – and experts tell us that the trend will continue for the foreseeable future. According to the 2020 Census, the U.S. population aged 65 and over grew nearly five times faster than the total population over the 100 years from 1920 to 2020. As of 2020, there were over 55 million “older” people in the U.S., meaning one in six U.S. residents is aged 65 or older. By 2040, the older population is expected to exceed 80 million people. The dramatic shift in the older demographic has caused a variety of issues and concerns, including the need to care for America’s elderly. When you enter your retirement years, you already stand about a 70 percent chance of needing some type of long-term care services before the end of your life. With more and more people entering their retirement years, that means a continuously increasing need for care. Not only do we need more long-term care options, but the public worries about the quality and affordability of the care that is available. With all of this in mind, AARP has taken on the task of analyzing data from all states and compiling the LTSS Scorecard every three years to help America’s seniors make sense of their options.
What Is the Purpose of the LTSS Scorecard?
AARP conducts an analysis of state data that is released every three years in its LTSS State Scorecard. The data and analysis focus on how long-term care systems and support are working in each of the states to identify strengths and weaknesses in state systems. The goal is to “spark and inform the development of actionable solutions at the local, state, and national levels— solutions that respond in meaningful ways to individual preferences and family choices and care needs as well as to new pressures and challenges.” The goal, according to AARP, is to get the actors within the state systems to “take action that will transform and modernize them.”
What Elements Are Considered When Ranking States for the LTSS Scorecard?
The LTSS Scorecard is based on an “updated vision of high-performing LTSS systems.” With that vision in mind, the following elements were considered when ranking the states:
- Affordability and Access. Consumers can easily find and afford services, with a meaningfully available safety net for those who cannot afford services. Safety net LTSS do not create disparities by income, race/ethnicity, or geography.
- Choice of Setting and Provider. A person- and family-centered approach allows for consumer choice and control of services (including self-directed models). A well-trained and adequately paid workforce is available to provide LTSS. Home and community-based services (HCBS) are widely available. Provider choice fosters equity, and consumers across communities have access to a range of culturally competent services and supports.
- Safety and Quality. Consumers are treated with respect and preferences are honored whenever possible, with services maximizing positive outcomes—including during and after care transitions. Residential facilities and HCBS settings are adequately staffed and are prepared for emergencies. Policy-, system-, and practice-level efforts reduce and/or prevent disparities in quality and outcomes.
- Support for Family Caregivers. Family caregivers are recognized, and their needs are assessed and addressed, so they can receive the support they need to continue their essential roles. A robust LTSS workforce limits over-reliance on family caregivers. Family caregiver supports are culturally appropriate and accessible to all communities.
- Community Integration. Consumers have access to a range of services and supports that facilitate LTSS, including safe and affordable housing. Communities are age friendly and supported by state Multisector Plans for Aging. Policy and programming that facilitate livable communities also drive equitable communities.
Minnesota Ranked Number One on the Long-Term Services and Supports Scorecard!
The State of Minnesota has the honor of ranking at the top of the LTSS Scorecard for 2023. Within the individual element rankings, Minnesota ranked number one in the “Support for Family Caregivers” category and second in the “Community Integration” category. Minnesota’s worst ranking was in the “Affordability and Access” category where the state came in 13th. Minnesota ranked 6th and 9th in the “Safety and Quality” and “Choice of Setting and Provider” categories, respectively. The full report, including specific data as well as positive and negative changes since the last LTSS Scorecard, can be found online. Minnesota received positive or no change scores for almost all sub-categories with the exception of “home care cost” and “nursing home cost.” While the cost of nursing home care continues to soar throughout the nation, Minnesota residents do pay, on average, about 50 percent more than the national average for nursing home care. Nevertheless, Minnesota emerges as a leader in long-term care services and support, something that should provide all Minnesota residents peace of mind as they head toward their “Golden Years.” The complete LTSS Scorecard, including rankings for all states, is available on AARP’s website.
Do You Have Long-Term Care Questions?
Please join us for an upcoming FREE webinar. If you have additional questions about long-term care or other elder law issues, contact the Grand Forks elder law attorneys at German Law by calling 701-738-0060 to schedule an appointment.
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