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LTCI Watch: A failure to plan

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The Federal Commission on Long-Term Care has very kindly sent me a notice about the committee’s second public hearing, which is set to take place in Washington at 1:30 p.m. EDT Wednesday.

Just the fact that the folks on the commission thought to send me a notice is probably a sign that they’re trying. They mean very well.

It looks as if the commission will hear from an interesting panel of witnesses and the diversity of long-term care (LTC) demand and meeting LTC needs.

The witnesses include speakers from great groups, such as the Coleman Institute for Cognitive Disabilities, the Technology Assistance Collaborative, the LeadingAge Center for Applied Research and Independent Living Systems, in addition to think tanks like Mathematica, the AARP Public Policy Institute and the Altarum Center for Elder Care and Advanced Illness.

But, as far as I can tell, the commission doesn’t even have a working Facebook page, let alone a web page on the system or the ability to stream audio or video of the hearings live on the Web.

The participants at the first meeting seemed to agree mainly on the principle that doing anything useful would be hard.

I hope the participants can drink some energy drinks and gain a sense of things the country could do to plan, if Democrats and Republicans could call a truce in the area of elder care issues.

Chances are no one will actually turn us into Soylent Green crackers, or even make any serious efforts to kill us off. There are plenty of countries that are much poorer than the United States that manage to do something with the frail elderly other than make crackers. But even well-run, well-funded LTC facilities can be depressing, and overcrowded, underfunded facilities can be awful.

Dr. Marion — the lady with the LTC planning bus — tells people, “A failure to plan is a plan to fail.”

But, of cuorse, a failure by the country as a whole to plan is plan to put people — including a lot of us, and our siblings, and our children — in horrible warehouses for old, frail people.

A failure to plan is a plan to let a lot of nice people who haven’t done anything particularly wrong in a facility where you wouldn’t put a stray cat.

Somehow, we’ve got to get past the Democrats are from Stalingrad/Republicans are from the Troll Kingdom logjam and figure something out.

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