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09/25/2019

Town Hall Offered LeadingAge Ohio Members Unique Opportunity to Interact with ODM

Over 40 LeadingAge Ohio members joined the LeadingAge Ohio Town Hall conversation held on September 29 in conjunction with the Annual Trade Show and Conference. Town Halls, the essential first step in the LeadingAge National Policy Process, are designed to surface the issues and challenges with federal programs that keep LeadingAge members up at night. The best Town Halls – like Ohio’s -- begin to edge forward with ideas for solutions.  

The high-energy, high-participation event was led by Kathryn Brod and featured Maureen Corcoran, Director of the Ohio Department of Medicaid.  They were joined by Ruth Katz from LeadingAge (National). A running powerpoint presentation behind the participants provided statistics/facts about the current state of aging and aging services in America, costs of care, income of older Americans, long-term care spending, and increasing challenges facing middle income elders throughout the presentation. 

Participants split into diverse small groups representing different organizations and providers to tackle three questions: 

  • Here and Now: Considering the current context, what is one change you would make to aging policy which would address your most pressing concerns today? 
  • Workable Solutions: What current, existing models hold the most promise for addressing our near-term challenges? 
  • Futuring: What are the macro-level changes that will improve or even revolutionize the aging services sector?

Among the pressing and specific concerns of the day were challenges with the three-day hospital stay required prior to skilled nursing facility (SNF) care, issues with nursing home star ratings, funding for more affordable housing, and Medicaid eligibility backlogs.  Director Corcoran was able to address the Medicaid-specific issues that arose and provide updates on progress since her arrival less than a year ago. Many of the issues that participants surfaced have come up in Town Halls across the nation and will be featured prominently in LeadingAge’s 2020 Policy Priorities.

The focus on broader challenges and the future face of aging were where the Town Hall stood out. Quite a few of the issues, observations, and solution ideas represented “next level” thinking.  Participation was high and those who spoke took today’s policy challenges into account and offered ideas against a current policy backdrop in a way that could easily translate into forward-thinking policy and advocacy.  

Examples included:

“How can we take the principles of hospice services – the interdisciplinary team and true person-centeredness, for example – and move them upstream into all aging services?”

“How can we talk only about the continuum of service types, without talking about the income continuum of the people who need services?”

“How can we think about what people really need and how to provide those services and that quality of care, then advocate moving policy in that direction?”

“What does it mean to honestly offer person-centered care?  How can we peel back the policy barriers to doing that?”

Points that came up in this successful Town Hall will translate into the 2020 LeadingAge Policy Priorities. They represent the thought leadership of LeadingAge members and point to a vision of the future of aging services. 

LeadingAge Ohio and LeadingAge (national) staff are anxious to hear what keeps you up at night that could be addressed by state and federal policy makers and what ideas you have for the future.  If you have a policy idea or source of concern that you want to ensure are incorporated into the LeadingAge/LeadingAge Ohio policy agenda, reach out to Kathryn Brod at (614) 545-9014 or Susan Wallace at (614) 545-9024.

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Our national partner, LeadingAge, is an association of 6,000 not-for-profit organizations dedicated to expanding the world of possibilities for aging. Together, we advance policies, promote practices and conduct research that support, enable and empower people to live fully as they age.