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New York Medicaid Program Spends More On Long-Term Care Than Programs In Other Northeastern States, Study Finds

September 29, 2017

The New York Medicaid program spends more on long-term care than programs in other states but delivers only average or slightly above average quality of care, according to a study released on Friday by the Rockefeller Institute of Government, the AP/USA Today reports. The study, funded by the New York State Health Foundation and provided to the state Department of Health, examined nursing home care, mental health care, and home and personal care. In addition, the study analyzed influences on spending -- such as demographics, types of care and facilities, and various Medicaid programs. The study compared the New York Medicaid program with programs in 18 other large and Northeastern states.

According to the study, Medicaid spending for New York in 2006 totaled almost $45 billion -- the most of any of the states -- followed by California at $34 billion. New York also led all of the states on Medicaid spending for long-term care at $19 billion, followed by $12 billion for California, the study found. For long-term care for Medicaid beneficiaries older than age 65, New York spent an average of $5,500, more than twice the national average, according to the study.

Courtney Burke, director of the state Health Policy Research Center at the Rockefeller Institute, said, "The state has room to improve quality and lower costs."

Study author Ajita De said that the New York Medicaid program might spend more on long-term care than programs in other states because of a large population of residents older than age 85 and a high rate of poverty among elderly residents. In addition, she cited a "greater number of medically needy elderly, a greater percentage of persons in nursing homes that rely on Medicaid as their primary source of funding, the availability of a broader range of Medicaid long-term care services and a higher number of special care nursing home beds."

Joanne Cunningham, president of the Home Care Association of New York, also cited regulations on long-term care and related costs in New York. She said, "New York's regulations are the nation's most stringent and, in many cases, overbearing," adding, "These add substantial and disproportionate costs to our long-term care system" (Bauman, AP/USA Today, 2/20).

The study is available online (.pdf).

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