NYS Needs to Invest in LTPAC

In August, LeadingAge of New York www.leadingage.org representing nearly 500 not-for-profit and public providers of Long-Term and Post-Acute Care (LTPAC), and the Adult Day Health Care Council (ADHCC), sent a letter to Daniel Sheppard, Deputy Commissioner for the Office of Primary Care & Health Systems Management at the New York State (NYS) Department of Health www.health.ny.gov.

LeadingAge of NY and ADHCC want to see the NYS Department of Health under the next round of capital grants under the Health Care Facility Transformation Program (HCFTP) invest more in LTPAC services.

Funding for the HCFTP grants was re-authorized along with additional funding in the 2017-18 State budget.  A grant solicitation for about $200 million of funding is expected to be available under this round of the program perhaps later this year. The funding will be administered by the NYS Department of Health and the Dormitory Authority https://dasny.org.

The letter was sent in response to the Request for Applications released in July for the next round of capital grants under HCFTP. The letter included information on the Long Term and Post-Acute Care (LTPAC) and senior services in NYS which will require more funds that will be needed to update technology.

As realized by many in the field, significant investments are needed for facility upgrades in order to comply with federal home and community-based settings requirements along with program and services improvements. Also greatly needed is additional deployment of HIT, HIE, and telehealth services to help LTPAC s effectively expand their services,

The letter points out, LTPAC needs will be compromised if LTPAC providers are unable to achieve HIT and HIE milestones. There is also the need for funding to make other critically needed investments to improve efficiencies, update services in response to changing demands, and to optimize quality.

The letter reports that the need to invest in EHR adoption and HIE is particularly pressing since LPTPAC providers have not had access to federal HIT meaningful use incentives and only negligible access to state funding for capital.

As a result, LTPAC providers lag behind hospitals and physician practices in EHR adoption and in taking part in the HIE. Beginning in 2018, LTPAC providers with certified EHRs will be required by state regulation to connect to the State Health Information Network of New York to engage in the secure bi-directional HIE. This will be a costly endeavor for many LTPAC providers both in terms of upfront outlays and continuing expenses.

The major complaint in the letter is that in spite of the compelling need for strategic investments in LTPAC services, acute and primary care providers have consistently been awarded the vast majority of funding available under recent grant opportunities.

The LTPAC services community wants to see the NYS Department of Health consider capping each project award at a total dollar amount or as a specified maximum percentage of the total funds awarded in each geographic region. This would help to ensure that there is a sufficiently broad distribution of awards to projects of different sizes and types.

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