On March 16, the U.S. Senate Aging Committee held a roundtable discussion entitled, “Assisted Living at the Dawn of America’s ‘Age Wave’: What Have States Achieved and How is the Federal Role Evolving?” The discussion included a wide range of stakeholder representatives from state and federal agencies, providers, and advocates, who examined various issues relating to assisted living. Officials from several states described the regulations they have in place to protect the interests of assisted living residents, and there was no consensus on any greater federal regulatory role. Much of the discussion focused on the use of Medicaid waivers and a variety of sources of capital to create affordable assisted living.
The discussion began with descriptions of what assisted living is and how it is regulated in various states. Although each state that was represented described assisted living and the processes that regulate it a little differently, they all had a couple of common principles. Assisted living was always described as an option that is personalized to each resident and as an option that preserves residents’ independence and dignity.
Panelists suggested that more government funding be available for those who would like to choose to live in an assisted living community, since it is often preferred over institutionalized care and more cost effective for the tax payers. ALFA reports that making the Assisted Living Medicaid Waiver Benefit more accessible was a common suggestion and a consensus was reached that further discussions on investigating future sources of financing would be necessary in order to meet the growing demand for assisted living.
More information about the speakers at the roundtable, including some videos of the presentations, is found at http://aging.senate.gov/hearing_detail.cfm?id=331935