The plan from high-wire negotiations would affect five key areas of health, but there will be further tense negotiations among Democratic lawmakers about specifics of the $3.5 trillion in funding. And all Senate Democrats will need to be behind the plan, because Republicans oppose it.
The covid pandemic and President Joe Biden’s agenda — a planned $400 billion infusion of support — have focused national attention on the need to expand home- and community-based long-term care services designed to keep people out of nursing homes. But the need far outpaces the staffing.
Across the country, doctors report that those hospitalized with covid now are largely unvaccinated. New York City lags the rest of the nation in vaccinating people 65 and older, and its efforts to reach the homebound and disabled have been late in coming and disorganized.
The number of Americans 65 and older is expected to nearly double in the next 40 years. Finding a way to provide and pay for the long-term health services they need won’t be easy.
In the latest sign that in-home acute care is catching on, two big players — Kaiser Permanente and the Mayo Clinic — announced plans to collectively invest $100 million into the company Medically Home to help scale up their programs.
Even as the nation has moved on to vaccinating everyone 16 and older, the vast majority of people homebound due to frailty or age — and among the most vulnerable to covid’s devastation — have not yet been vaccinated. California offers a sharp lens on the challenges.
Long-term care options are expensive and often out of reach for seniors and people with disabilities. The president has proposed a massive infusion of federal funding for home and community-based health services that advocates say will go a long way toward helping individuals and families.
Watch an intimate conversation about this workforce, which provides vital care to vulnerable people. Our panel included those doing the work and those who rely on them, as well as expert insight on improving the jobs, honoring the care and paying for it all.
The main problem the eldercare industry faces today is one of supply and demand. Simply put, there are not enough caregivers to meet today’s demand. This problem will only get worse as baby boomers begin to enter their later senior years, in what is colloquially being called “The Gray Tsunami.”
Home health aides flattened the curve by keeping the most vulnerable patients — seniors, the disabled, the infirm — out of hospitals. But they’ve done it mostly at poverty wages and without overtime pay, hazard pay, sick leave or health insurance.