Letters to the Editor

New Jerseyans are NOT Average

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On July 17th, I viewed an AARP web event featuring the 2014 New Jersey “Long-Term Services and Supports Scorecard” conducted by Susan Reinhard, the senior vice president of the AARP Public Policy Institute. The AARP Scorecard measures state-level performance from the viewpoint of consumers and family caregivers of long-term care services and supports that expand the choices, independence, and dignity of older adults.

During the event, I was startled by New Jersey’s disappointing score for older adults’ choice of setting and provider for long-term care. Overall, New Jersey is ranked only 37th in the nation; not great – well below average, in fact.  That’s inexcusable; the last time I checked, New Jerseyans are NOT below average.   When it comes to distributing New Jersey Medicaid dollars, we are spending only 25% of our public dollars on helping people stay at home while we spend 75% of our money on nursing-home care.

People want to have the choice of staying at home for as long as possible, and New Jersey should be doing far more to support that choice.

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New Jersey is the best in the country when it comes to things like music, but Governor Christie and the legislature need to keep their eyes on the prize: we need to become #1 in giving options for long-term care living to our older adults.

 

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