Have your say on nursing homes

Editor:

I recommend reading the Sept. 23, 2007 New York Times article “At Many Homes, More Profit and Less Nursing” by Charles Duhigg. It lays out what is likely to be an overwhelming long-term care crises for baby boomers if nursing homes are their only solution.

However, I would like to discuss the crisis situation in Oregon and closer to my home in Lane County. Of the 429 licensed assisted living and residential care facilities in Oregon, a lower cost solution than nursing homes, only 25 percent of them take Medicaid clients.

The situation will only get worse as more facilities are shifting away from Medicaid clients as their spots become vacant — private-pay clients are so much more profitable.

The highest level of need for Medicaid rate schedule for a senior or disabled person in a residential care facility in Lane County is $2,163.70 per month — less than half the cost of nursing homes), Adult foster homes and assisted living facilities are both in that range.

Oregon Project Independence (OPI) is our cheapest and best solution for keeping seniors and the disabled in their own homes.

According to the Oregon Department of Human Services’ March, 2007 Long-Term Care Report, in 2005, the average daily rate charged for nursing home care, without Medicaid or Medicare assistance, in Eugene was $163 a day – almost $4,900 per month or $58,680 a year.

Nursing homes, which received more than $75 billion (BILLION) last year from taxpayer programs like Medicare and Medicaid and are by far our most expensive long-term care option.

In 20 to 30 years, when many of today’s boomers need long-terms care services, these costs may well have doubled or tripled as a result of inflation – 85 years of age is our fasted growing age group.

As chair of the Senate Interim Committee on Senior and Disabled Services, my priority is to find viable cost solutions for these serious problems before we are completely overwhelmed.

Our first meeting, open to the public, is 8:30 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 4 – tomorrow – in Hearing Room B in the Capitol in Salem.

Bill Morrisette

State Senator, District 6

Lane and Linn counties

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