Building the Long-Term Care System of the Future: Will the COVID-19 Nursing Home Tragedies Lead to Real Reform?

Manatt Health partner Cindy Mann and The SCAN Foundation’s Bruce Chernof authored an article for Health Affairs on the horrific toll the COVID-19 pandemic has had on nursing homes in the U.S., and especially on Medicaid beneficiaries and those who rely on long-term services and supports (LTSS). In the article, the authors discuss how the current public health crisis exposed underlying weaknesses in the LTSS system, and the quick and decisive actions providers, state and federal administrators, and policy makers will need to take in the immediate and near terms to make bold and lasting changes both to respond to new COVID-19 outbreaks and to create a more resilient, person-centered LTSS system. These actions include:

  • accelerating efforts to expand access to home- and community-based LTSS;
  • strengthening the ties between LTSS and the rest of the health care system;
  • replacing aging and outdated facilities, particularly in low-income communities;
  • reforming federal and state regulatory oversight of nursing home providers and quality; and
  • seriously exploring sustainable funding models for LTSS.


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