New York, NY, July 21, 2008—Adequate financing for long-term care, improving the quality of long term care services, and developing an adequate, skilled workforce are some of the urgent challenges facing long-term care in the future, say four of five respondents to the latest Commonwealth Fund/Modern Healthcare Health Care Opinion Leaders Survey. Nearly four of five (79%) respondents favor or strongly favor adding a long-term care benefit to Medicare, financed by a premium, to pay for care.
More than two-thirds (69%) of respondents to the survey believe it is very important (41%) or important (28%) that the health reform plans of the presidential candidates address the quality and financing of long-term care. Opinion leaders surveyed include experts from four broad health care sectors: academia and research organizations; health care delivery; business, insurance, and other health industry; and government and advocacy groups. Elected officials and media representatives were excluded.
"As our population ages, health care opinion leaders are sounding the alarm about the significant challenges we will face financing and improving the quality of long-term care," said Commonwealth Fund President Karen Davis. "Although health care leaders say long-term care is important to include in health care reform plans, the presidential candidates have not yet addressed this issue, which is certain to become an increasing concern for American families."
A majority of health care opinion leaders say that long-term care costs should be shared by individuals and the government (55%), while one-quarter (26%) say costs should be shared by individuals, employers, and the government.
Other findings from the survey include:
The survey is the 15th in a series from The Commonwealth Fund, and the seventh conducted in partnership with the publication Modern Healthcare. Commentaries on the survey results by Nora Dowd Eisenhower, secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Aging, and Carol Raphael, president and chief executive officer of Visiting Nurse Service of New York, appear in the July 21 issue of Modern Healthcare. The commentaries are also posted on the Fund's Web site, along with a Commission data brief discussing the survey findings.
Methodology: The Commonwealth Fund/Modern HealthCare Health Care Opinion Leaders Survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of The Commonwealth Fund between June 2 and June 30, 2008, among 1,078 opinion leaders in health policy and innovators in health care delivery and finance. The final sample included 196 respondents from various industries, for a response rate of 18 percent. Data from this survey were not weighted. The complete methodology is available on The Commonwealth Fund Web site.