As Americans age, they look to live in communities where they can remain active and have transportation options once they are no longer able to drive. That’s a big concern for a state like Connecticut, which is largely thought of as a car-centric state. “By 2025, 20 percent or more of almost every Connecticut town will be 65 and older,” said Christianne Kovel, senior policy analyst on aging at the Connecticut Commission on Women, Children and Seniors. “Connecticut, while it’s a small state, has areas that are very, very rural. … Public transportation is not an option.”

By Jenni Bergal, Stateline staff writer | Reprinted with permission from Stateline.org
Facing a wave of aging baby boomers, many states are trying to make it easier for frail seniors to stay in their homes—as many prefer—instead of moving into more costly nursing homes. States have a huge stake in where aging seniors and disabled people end up getting long-term care because many of them won’t be able to afford to pay for their care and will have to rely on Medicaid, the health care program for the poor and disabled. Each state has its own Medicaid program, funded jointly by the state and the federal government. Some states have been ahead of the pack in dealing with long-term care issues. In Minnesota, for example, nursing home beds have been cut more than a third as the state focuses on its home and community-based care system. In Hawaii, the state set up a program offering frail older adults in-home services at no charge.

The November-December issue of Capitol Ideas magazine features my article on how states and communities are working to improve transportation mobility for older Americans. One of the experts featured in the article is Beth Osborne, vice president for technical assistance at Transportation for America in Washington, D.C. Osborne, a veteran of both the U.S. Department of Transportation and Capitol Hill, in recent years has been working with states on the implementation of complete streets policies. Complete streets are streets designed for safe access by all users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and transit riders. In this extended excerpt of our conversation, Osborne talks about how complete streets can benefit seniors, how complete streets implementation processes have evolved, how the process differs from state to state, the promise of rideshare companies and autonomous vehicles for improving senior mobility and what kinds of policies state officials should consider during the 2017 legislative sessions. Osborne will be among the presenters next month at Transportation for America’s Capital Ideas II conference in Sacramento, for which CSG is a promotional partner.

In June, Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month is celebrated around the world.

Four years after the Older Americans Act expired, the bill was reauthorized by Congress and on April 16, 2016, signed into law once again by President Obama.

CSG Midwest
In response to concerns raised by family members about the care and safety of their loved ones in nursing homes, Illinois has become one of the first U.S. states to allow the use of cameras in resident rooms. HB 2462, signed into law in 2015, took effect in January.
CSG Midwest
In 2015, more than 1 million people in the 11-state Midwest were living with Alzheimer’s disease — the sixth-leading cause of death among adults in the United States. And minus a cure, this common form of dementia will touch and take even more lives in the decades ahead.
In most of the region’s states, for example, the number of Alzheimer’s cases is expected to increase by close to 20 percent or more between now and 2025 due to rises in the number of people 65 or older (see table). By the middle of this century, the number of Americans with the disease could triple.

CSG Director of Education Policy Elizabeth Whitehouse outlines the top five issues in workforce development policy for 2016, including Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act implementation, employment issues for people with criminal records, engaging people with disabilities in the workforce, veterans' employment issues, and career pathways for students.

CSG Director of Health Policy Debra Miller outlines the top five issues in health policy for 2016, including Medicaid expansion, substance abuse and drug overdoses, cost containment, the graying of America, and population health. 

#1  Medicaid Expansion

Thirty states and the District of Columbia have expanded Medicaid eligibility to 138 percent of the federal poverty level as allowed by the Affordable Care Act, and they will be required to contribute matching funds beginning Jan. 1, 2017. This means that legislatures in those states will have to appropriate state funds during their budget sessions in 2016.  

The federal funding will decrease from covering 100 percent of the newly eligible...

Long-term care for the elderly and disabled is driving up Medicaid costs, and states should take notice. That was the message of speakers at the 2015 CSG Medicaid Policy Academy held June 17-19 in Washington, D.C. “In nine states, at least 30 percent of Medicaid enrollees are elderly or disabled,” explained Matt McKillop, an officer for the State Health Care Spending division of The Pew Charitable Trusts. The main source of funding to provide long-term care and support for these individuals streams from Medicaid through state budgets. McKillop highlighted national data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that showed the elderly and disabled individuals comprised 24 percent of Medicaid enrollees in 2010, but accounted for 64 percent of total Medicaid expenditures in the states.

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