Friday, April 20, 2012

To Control Costs, Keep Assisted Living as an Option

This week the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging met to find cost effective methods for providing long term care services. Committee Chair Senator Herb Kohl (D-WI) stated, "we're going to have to do more with less" (federal funding) because it "simply won't be there." The committee listened to panelists' testimony on a number of ideas for stretching dollars in the long term care system.

Given the legislative climate, Seantors were searching for new ways to control costs, but as NCAL Executive Director Dave Kyllo pointed out in a statement to the Committee, assisted living communities are already saving dollars while preserving quality care. Says Kyllo:

The assisted living community is now very established and provides valuable housing and services options to about 750,000 seniors across the nation, including about 140,000 receiving assistance from Medicaid. Assisted living has provided innovative, quality services for over three decades in “person-centered” environments before that phrase was popular. In addition, assisted living is more affordable than most other long term care settings.

Specifically, Kyllo pointed to a CMS proposed rule that seeks to define Medicaid Home and Community-based settings. Instead of increasing savings, the rule would increase costs. As proposed, the rule would eliminate assisted living as an option for low income seniors and could force 140,000 seniors out of the assisted living communities where they currently reside and receive care. As Kyllo points out, such a move would not save costs but significantly expand them by increasing state and federal Medicaid spending. 

Assisted living leaders have been watching the proposed rule closely since 2011, calling it “A Perfect Storm” for low income seniors and the providers who care for them. NCAL members will continue working with the Senate Aging Committee and CMS to develop definitions of community-based care that are resident-centered and allow seniors the maximum range of long term care choices, including assisted living.


  1. Hi,

    An assisted-living facility combines residential housing, personalized support services and health care for people who need some help with daily living activities. Assisted living generally is on a scale between independent living and nursing care. Assisted-living facilities commonly are apartment complexes, or rooming complexes offering the choice of a single or double room. Thank you...

    Assisted Living Oakland

  2. Assisted living is designed for individuals who require assistance with everyday activities such as meals, medication management or assistance, bathing, dressing and transportation. Seniors are finding these homes easier because of the many perks that come with living in this type of environment. Thanks a lot.

  3. NCAL and CMS are doing best, hope they will go with the same pace in future too.