ANN ARBOR, Mich.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--As the House takes up the Senate bill to reauthorize the Older Americans Act (OAA), advocacy groups are calling for an increase in resources to help keep older adults with chronic medical conditions out of crisis, safe from being hospitalized and rehospitalized needlessly and, in some cases, from being placed prematurely in a nursing home.
The argument for increased funding appears in an article in this week’s New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), titled “The Older Americans Act at 50—Community-Based Care in a Value-Driven Era.” This article was authored by Dr. Ravi Parikh, a physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, and by Dr. Joanne Lynn and Anne Montgomery from Altarum Institute’s Center for Elder Care and Advanced Illness.
“It is seriously wrongheaded to pay for emergency room rescues for people who actually needed food or heat or a safe way to get around in their apartment, yet that is what we are doing,” said Joanne Lynn, director of the Center.
“These social services and supports are lifelines for elderly people living with disabilities and for their family caregivers,” said Anne Montgomery, a co-author of the report. “If we fail to provide these essential services reliably, people will suffer from hunger, malnutrition, and having other basic needs unmet; and health care costs will accelerate rapidly during the oncoming age wave, which will strain budgets for federal and state governments and for families.”
The OAA reauthorization is currently pending in the House and comes on the heels of this month’s White House Conference on Aging, which was designed to identify and advance actions to improve the quality of life for older Americans. It is also timed to celebrate the 50th anniversary of all three federal support programs for health care services for the elderly: Medicaid, Medicare, and the OAA.
You can find the full article in the latest edition of NEJM at http://www.nejm.org/. Contact the journal at firstname.lastname@example.org to obtain reproduction of the dramatic graph in the article, showing the recent rise in Medicare and the number of elderly persons while OAA funding stays flat. For more information on frail elder care and the OAA, please read our blog or visit our website, MediCaring Communities.
Altarum Institute (www.altarum.org) integrates objective research and client-centered consulting skills to deliver comprehensive, systems-based solutions that improve health and health care. Altarum employs almost 400 individuals and is headquartered in Ann Arbor, Mich., with additional offices in the Washington, D.C., area; Portland, Maine; and San Antonio, Texas.