Connecticut lags in long-term care for elderly and disabled

Connecticut has made inroads into shifting long-term care for the elderly and people with disabilities from institutions to community-based programs, but according to a Yale researcher it lags behind many other states. “Connecticut is making important progress, but there’s a long way to go,” said Leslie Curry, Ph.D., M.P.H., a research scientist at the School of Public Health who spoke at a session in the Aging Research Seminar Series in February.

Spurred by a 1999 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, states have begun to shift long-term care from nursing homes to community-based options, largely because nursing home care is about twice as costly as community-based care and because people prefer community settings. With $56 million in federal grants, Connecticut has increased the proportion of Medicaid clients receiving community-based care from 46 percent in 2002 to 51 percent in 2006, Curry said.

Nationally, though, Connecticut “is not a leader,” and Curry said the state needs to streamline its organization, increase community-based options and enhance consumer-directed models of care in order to reach its goal of having 75 percent of Medicaid recipients who need long-term care in community-based settings by 2025.