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.
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.