by Damon Boughamer
Public Radio Capitol News, serving Pennsylvania
Harrisburg, Penna. (PRCN, 13 April 2007) – The state’s top welfare officer made headlines this past week when she said retired experts would be brought in to deal with a backlog in personal care home inspections.
Less attention was focused on an underlying policy issue that’s driving broader discussions within the long-term care industry.
Here’s a startling statistic from Dr. Stuart Shapiro: "Seventy percent of those turning 65 in Pennsylvania today will require some type of long-term care services in their lifetime."
According to Shapiro, the problem is that Pennsylvania’s laws and regulations in this area are outmoded.
Dr. Shapiro is CEO of the Pennsylvania Health Care Association, which speaks for the state’s nursing homes. He describes a continuum of elderly care – with home care at one end and nursing homes at the other.
"Then, in the middle, there’s something called personal care homes, where you cannot receive any medical services. And that’s why we need to add a new category called ‘assisted living,’ which the legislature is now considering," Dr. Shapiro says.
Dr. Shapiro says three-quarters of the states define "assisted living."
The last several years have seen additional state resources aimed at home care. Advocates for each type of long-term care are worried that the total investment will not grow and instead will simply be divided differently.