Oklahoma is second in the nation for nursing home residents with low care needs who could be better served in home and community-based settings. The Senate gave final approval to Senate Bill 888, by Sen. Kim David, Tuesday to provide seniors and their families options that best suit the individual’s long-term healthcare needs while saving the state money.
“Oklahoma spends 70 percent of its long-term care dollars on nursing homes, and only 30 percent on less costly alternatives. Oklahoma’s senior citizen population is expected to increase by nearly 100,000 in the next 30 years - a trend we won’t be able to afford unless we start using more affordable options,” said David, R-Porter. “By using a variety of home and community-based services, other states like Texas, Alaska and Colorado have obtained a 50/50 mix or better in long-term care spending, achieving significant cost savings while allowing senior to choose care in their preferred setting. This bill will provide Oklahoma’s elderly with more options while providing significant savings to the state that can be used on other important services.”
SB 888 will allow seniors to take advantage of options counseling to ensure they are fully informed of their options prior to admission to a long-term care program, including less costly choices like home health and adult day services.
The bill was also authored by Rep. Carol Bush, R-Tulsa.
“As a state, we are facing a significant increase in our senior population and we want to ensure that they are aware of all long-term care options available to them. SB 888 is a common sense approach to arming our seniors with the information they need to make truly informed decisions about how and where they receive the care they deserve,” Bush said.
One option provided under SB 888 is the PACE program, which is a Medicare and Medicaid program that helps meet people’s health care needs in their homes, community or local PACE center rather than going to nursing homes or other care facilities. PACE provides all the services and care covered by Medicare and Medicaid if authorized by the individual’s health care team. Services include, among others, adult day primary care (including doctor and recreation therapy nursing services), dentistry, emergency services, home and hospital care, meals, physical therapy, social services and transportation.
SB 888 will next be considered by the governor.