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HHS creates LTC policy agency

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The federal Administration for Community Living (ACL) is getting a new division that could end up feeding data to the long-term care (LTC) planning community — and possibly developing big new federal LTC programs.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is creating a new ACL Center for Policy and Evaluation as a part of a shakeup of the 30-month-old agency.

HHS set up ACL in April 2012, in an effort to improve the way federal programs serve the people who need help with the activities of daily living. ACL includes a major, well-established HHS LTC policy and services agency, the Administration on Aging.

Now, under a new secretary, Sylvia Burwell, HHS is adding the new policy center and another new division, a Center for Consumer Access and Self-Determination. The policy center is supposed to track facility-based LTC services, home care services, and community-based LTC services and support services.

The consumer access center is supposed to support efforts to help the users of LTC services direct their own care.

The two new centers will be at the same organizational level as the Administration on Aging, according to an HHS announcement set to appear in the Federal Register Thursday.

The head of the new policy center will have a director who will report directly to the ACL director. The policy center itself will have an Office of the Director for Policy and Evaluation, an Office of Policy Analysis and Development, and an Office of Performance and Evaluation.

One of the policy center’s jobs will be to connect the ACL with the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE). In recent years, HHS has used ASPE both to study health policy issues, to track the new Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) public exchange system, and promote the PPACA exchange system.

The policy center’s own policy analysis center is supposed to analyze trends and use that analysis to develop new long-term services and supports policies and programs. The policy analysis center can work with private corporations.

Part the job of the policy analysis center will be to develop reports on the “needs and circumstances of older people, their family members, and the aging population.”

See also: Home care planning: 4 things LTC planners should know about the new regs.