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Written by: Michael Bolton on Wednesday, March 17, 2010 Posted in:

According to a recent study commissioned by the Connecticut Regional Institute for the 21st Century, placing more aging adults and patients with intellectual disabilities into home care over the next 15 years could greatly reduce a projected increase in Connecticut’s long-term health care costs.

The Connecticut Business News Journal reports that Connecticut dedicated just over half of its Medicaid funding and 13.6 percent of its entire budget, almost $2.5 billion, to long-term care last fiscal year. More residents received care at home or in the community than in nursing homes or other institutions – roughly 21,300 to 18,700. But while more than half of the state’s clients received care outside of institutions, over 65 percent of Connecticut’s long-term care budget went for those in nursing homes, chronic disease hospitals or other facilities. State government spent $32,902 per client served at home or in the community in 2006 compared to $74,637 per institutional patient.

The study projects that a dramatic shift toward non-institutional care would knock more than $900 million off the nearly $3.4 billion increase in annual costs state government faces between now and 2025.

The study emphasizes the importance of addressing this issue by recommending the creation of a cabinet-level post in the Executive Branch to lead a transition into more home-and community-based care, with the Office of Policy and Management, the branch’s chief budget agency, streamlining various programs into a “single-point of entry” care system.

The budget and care challenges facing Connecticut are not unique.  As the number of aging American increases, state budgets throughout the country will be pushed beyond limits.  To learn more about recommendations made in this study and the impact that transitioning more patients from institutions to home care could have on Connecticut, click here.

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