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New York Must Prioritize the Care of Older Adults and Aging New Yorkers 

November 30, 2022

It is no secret that Americans live far longer than ever before. Thanks to modern medicine and a whole host of social and technological advancements which have taken place over the last century, many of us will be lucky enough to live well into our 80s and 90s.

While our longevity is something to celebrate, it is essential to acknowledge that this longevity also means that seven in ten U.S. citizens will need some form of long-term care or aging services. Even if those with family and friends to help support aging loved ones, it is almost certain that medical and personal care needs will require professional help at some point. Fortunately, there are many options for long-term care services in our community.

Unfortunately, New York State has neglected long-term care and aging services providers for many years. For example, nearly 75% of the nursing home care in New York is paid for by Medicaid (state and federal funding). Today, nursing homes are currently operating on Medicaid rates that were last updated in 2007 – since then, the cost of providing these medical services has risen by 42%.

Non-profit providers have done their best to shoulder these financial losses and continue operating while maintaining a high level of quality care. But after over two years of the emotional, operational and financial losses of the COVID-19 pandemic, the long-term care system is at a critical crossroads. Non-profit providers are closing their doors and selling to for-profits at an accelerating rate, and since 2019, 6,700 nursing home beds have been removed from operation due to a lack of staff and financial support.

This reduction in nursing home beds and the closure and sale of organizations manifest as a growing lack of access to quality long-term care and aging services for New York’s older adults and individuals with disabilities. This reality has become so stark that the lack of access to post-acute services leads to backed-up hospital services, as hospitals cannot discharge patients.

The long-term care and aging services sector are at a breaking point, and the consumers of these services and the rest of the healthcare continuum are beginning to feel the impact of more than a decade of neglect and underfunding. In 2023, it is critical that New York State finally right the ship. The State must invest in long-term care, raising Medicaid rates more closely match the cost of care.

If you are passionate about support for aging services and want to help influence change – send a note to our governor by clicking here.

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