Future of a Successful Aging Network Depends on Expanding Revenue Streams

Sustainability of the current Aging Network will depend on those core competencies: prevention, options counseling (with regard to accessing long term services and supports (LTSS) and elder rights.
 
 
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Sept. 12, 2012 - PRLog -- Denver, CO (July 2012) - The Older Americans Act moving forward will be one of the most important programs administered by the federal government, by the states, the tribes, the Area Agencies on Aging and by the Aging and Disability Resource Centers (ADRC), but the funding stream will have to include other sources of revenue – including Managed Care.

Kathy Greenlee, the Assistant Secretary for Aging appointed by President Obama in 2009, spoke for the fourth year in a row at the n4a Tradeshow and Conference in Denver, and when she identified the three pillars of a successful Aging Network: prevention, options counseling (with regard to accessing long term services and supports or LTSS) and elder rights.

Sustainability of the current Aging Network will depend on those core competencies. And in order for the network to survive and be sustained with resources and the programs that we need to deliver, Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) “must become expert in one or more of those domains,” Greenlee told a packed room of aging professionals and advocates in the Hyatt Regency in downtown Denver in July.

The Older Americas Act now faces two very significant challenges: one is it’s not growing and the second significant challenge is to produce and document outcomes.

“We really must update our approach to demonstrating that the Older Americans Act is effective and we must focus on outcomes as well as outputs,” Greenlee said.  

This requires members to go back to the programs they’ve delivered for decades and figure out different ways to evaluate their effectiveness, she said. Some of those outcomes will need to be monetarily connected to increasing supports in the community and decreasing costs in both acute care services, such as hospitals and long term services such as nursing homes. The Aging Network’s survival is dependent on this, Greenlee said.

The federal government has begun to work more specifically in Title III-D, the Health Promotion and Disease prevention Programs in the Older Americans Act, where money is now provided only for evidence –based practices, according to Greenlee.  

In addition to Aging Secretary, Greenlee is Administrator for the Administration for Community Living (ACL), which has developed a graduated or tiered set of criteria for delivering evidence-based programming. Information is available on their website http://www.aoa.gov

Greenlee gave an example of how the Aging Network could have an impact on the health of the 27% of Medicare patients who have diabetes by delivering evidence-based programming and providing one-on-one assistance.  

“Community care transitions has been a Medicare opportunity. How do we get Medicare funding for diabetes self-management?” Greenlee said. That is the challenge.
Greenlee singled out the Elder Services of Merrimack Valley in Massachusetts for receiving their first reimbursement from Medicare through their Medicare partner Hebrew Senior Live.

“We are looking for every opportunity we can to find a way to help you grow and survive and increase your footprint and your service in your communities. And as or in this work we are also looking to help other people spend their money on you as well,” Greenlee said.
 
Ultimately, Greenlee’s speech as about prevention and its importance to the survival of the Aging Network.

“We must talk about prevention,” she said, “and this is the core of what we’ve always known, and this is the way we have to demonstrate it now and what we have to prove about our work.”

Greenlee also broached the subject of Medicaid managed care for long term supports and services, another opportunity for the Aging Network. And the questions that come up:  Where do we fit in? How do we negotiate with long term providers? How do we price ourselves on a fee-for-service basis?

All questions the Administration on Community Living, the new Administration on Aging, is focusing on, Greenlee said.

“The managed care companies that are moving into this space have been working primarily with children and pregnant women,” Greenlee said. “They need expertise from us about how to manage long term support and service for seniors and people with disabilities. They need to contract with you.”

About NYSAAAA

The New York State Association of Area Agencies on Aging represents the state’s local offices for the aging established under the federal Older Americans Act to respond to the needs of Americans age 60 and over. The Association provides professional development and education that includes the annual Aging Concerns Unite Us (ACUU) conference, webinars, regional caregiver forums and a fall Leadership Institute. The Association works to strengthen and expand long term services and supports to individuals so they may age in place in the community.  A core philosophy is to work in collaboration with other agencies, which is accomplished through the Aging Alliance, a coalition of organizations representing Older New Yorkers. Looking to the future, the Board of Directors has approved a new name, the Association on Aging in New York, to create a more cohesive and inclusive network to address the diverse needs of an aging population, as well as individuals of all ages needing long term services and supports. For more information, go to http://www.nysaaaa.org The new web site will soon be operational at www.agingny.org
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