The first round of budget hearings is upon us and AARP is fully engaged and active on the following top priorities for the FY 2014-2015 fiscal year.
Caregiver support funds for Alzheimer’s and related disorders
Supporting family caregivers is critical in keeping elders and adults with disabilities safely in their homes and communities. This is what most people want and it is less expensive. Over the longer term, maintaining people in their homes and communities will minimize the pressures on the Medicaid program.
Preservation of funding for home- and community-based services
03-07-13 budget hearing AARP_LTC_White_Final is out of balance. More than 80% of the state’s long-term care funding goes to institutional care—such as nursing homes—and only 20% to less expensive and more popular home-and community-based care. Rebalancing the state’s system of long-term care will give people more choices, more flexibility, and more control for quality of life. Providing funding for home-and community-based care through the existing nursing home bed tax supports what people want and starts to address the unavoidable state budget challenge of meeting the health care needs of Granite staters as they age.
Continued support of ServiceLink network
03-07-13 budget hearing servicelink_flyer_final is a vital service for the long-term care needs of Granite Staters. With caregiver support specialists in each county, caregiver support funds help family caregivers in their communities. ServiceLink Resource Centers are located in every county and help people from all walks of life navigate the often confusing, inter-workings of health care and social service programs available to help them and their loved ones meet the challenges of aging or disability issues.
Implementation of the Affordable Care Act
Expanding Medicaid will help provide health care to approximately 36,000 adults. Many 45- to 64-year-olds who have lost their jobs or are struggling without health benefits but don’t currently qualify for Medicaid health coverage will gain coverage. Designing a 03-08-13 Exchange Leave Behind attachment that is transparent, promotes safety and quality, and reflects a health insurance market that responds to the needs of the consumer is critical. An 03-07-13 budget hearing New Hampshire Voices of 50+ Final 3-21-11 shows 75% are worried about paying more for health care and 64% about the financial devastation due to health costs.
Expanded transportations options
As people age, changes to their physical health can make driving more challenging. Over 90% of AARP New Hampshire members have expressed their 002-19-13 Gas Tax Testimony attachment so people who no longer drive can stay independent and avoid isolation. While we understand the significant shortfall in funding to repair and preserve New Hampshire’s roads and bridges, we hope funding to reduce the demand on our roads and bridges can be included in this current discussion and enhanced transportation and mobility options made available to allow non-drivers to stay connected to their communities.
Implementation of Medicaid Managed Care
In 2011, the New Hampshire legislature approved changes in law to require the use of managed care for the state’s Medicaid program. While managed care holds promise not only for reducing the costs the state incurs but also for improving the quality of care Medicaid members receive, other states’ experiences in utilizing risk-based managed care models – and in placing all of their Medicaid members in them – vary significantly. Their experiences, coupled with New Hampshire’s own past experiences with managed care, suggest that the state will face numerous critical questions as it strives to implement such changes to its Medicaid program.
As the State and the Department of Health and Human Services consider these critical questions, they must reach out to consumers, providers, advocates and others to make sure their voices are heard. We believe Medicaid Managed Care should be implemented in a way that provides improved care coordination, disease management, provider network management, quality management, and customer services, while adequately protecting the rights and benefits of the population served by the Medicaid program.