State Report: It's Time To Switch Money From Institutions To
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
March 17, 2005
BATON ROUGE, LOUISIANA--A report released Monday by a legislative auditor found that Louisiana spends too much money on nursing homes and other institutions while spending too little on community-based supports for seniors and people with disabilities.
According to the Baton Rouge Advocate, the auditors discovered that nearly 6,000 people housed in nursing facilities needed little support and could potentially be served in the community.
At the same time, more than 11,000 are on waiting lists for home and community-based services. Additionally, about 850 people in nursing facilities and 900 people with mental disabilities in institutions are on waiting lists for community services.
The report's authors said that shifting people from institutional to community supports could free up funds for between 2,132 and 4,206 people to receive services.
"Because of the lack of specific, measurable criteria, individuals who are relatively independent and may not require 24-hour care may be admitted to nursing facilities," they said in the report.
The auditors recommended developing a better assessment system to determine whether a person needs to live in an institution; prioritizing community services so those in greatest need get services first; and removing the barriers that keep care providers from competing openly.
Finally, the auditors suggested closing at least one of two state-operated nursing homes, and closing or down-sizing state-operated institutions housing people with mental disabilities.
"Report says cut nursing-home funds, boost other programs" (The Advocate)