L. A. Care is one of five Safety Net Health Plans featured in a new report by the Association for Community Affiliated Plans (ACAP). The report looks at the housing crisis from a rarely-discussed perspective: seniors forced to remain in hospitals or long-term care and skilled nursing facilities because of insufficient affordable housing.
These are people who lost their homes after being admitted to a medical facility. Because they have no home to return to and have few affordable housing options, they cannot be discharged. These transitionally homeless individuals are typically seniors and people with disabilities. Many are enrolled Medicaid recipients, with others being "dual eligible" — having Medicaid and Medicare at the same time.
This inability to transition back to living in communities speaks to many critical issues that need to be addressed. By 2035, there will be more than 50 million seniors in the United States who will need long-term care services. Whether they get these services in higher-cost, restrictive institutions, or in lower-cost, community-based settings where we know there are better health outcomes and a higher quality of life, depends on what we do today.
ACAP's report looks at the state of this transitional homelessness problem, calling for housing and health authorities to come together and create policies that will bring seniors back home into their communities. Because this type of federal partnership has yet to be robust and stable, ACAP points to the efforts of health plans who are running innovative pilots, attempting solutions that provide housing assistance and/or expand home care service capacity that will enable these individuals to live in the community.
The five plans profiled — Health Plan of San Mateo, Caresource, Inland Empire Health Plan, Cardinal Innovations Healthcare, and L.A. Care Health Plan — are doing terrific work to transition members from institutions to the community. This effort requires going well beyond the traditional realm of healthcare; both health and housing agencies need to cooperate in a closer fashion than has traditionally been the case.
-- Meg Murray, CEO
Association for Community Affiliated Plans
L.A. Care is utilizing mulitiple approaches to this issue, including investing in caregiver training, In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) worker training and enhancements to cognitive assessements that will better monitor member care and improve member support. L.A. Care also utilizes state programs, such as the Assisted Living Waiver, the California Community Transition program and the Multipurpose Senior Support Program to help transition its institutionalized members to the community.
Read the full report, “Bridging the Health and Housing Gap” at the ACAP site.
Read more about L.A. Care's efforts to keep you living in the community:
About L.A. Care Health Plan
L.A. Care Health Plan is a public entity and community-accountable health plan serving residents of Los Angeles County through a variety of health coverage programs including L.A. Care Covered™, Medi-Cal, L.A. Care Cal MediConnect Plan and PASC-SEIU Homecare Workers Health Care Plan. L.A. Care is a leader in developing new programs through innovative partnerships designed to provide health coverage to vulnerable populations and to support the safety net. With more than 2 million members, L.A. Care is the nation’s largest publicly operated health plan.