HEALTH CARE SYSTEM FOR OLDER TEXANS, 2001
The League of Women Voters of Texas supports a comprehensive health care system for older Texans that ensures a seamless continuum of quality care. Access to health care should include:
- statewide and local information and referral networks which provide clear, correct, and consistent information about publicly funded health care programs and eligibility requirements
- development of programs to provide adequate and affordable transportation for clients and health care providers.
Health care for older adults should include:
- integration of health care services, including developing an individual health care plan and providing a continuum of services, such as health care screening, prevention services, acute care, long-term care, and hospice care
- a variety of long-term care services and alternative housing options in sufficient quantities to provide the level of care appropriate for each individual
- options that include home and community-based services, in addition to institutional care
- programs that address limitations to access in rural and other medically underserved areas for dentistry, hearing and vision services, mental health services, and long-term care
- innovative programs that use waivers and blending of funds to customize services to fit individual and community needs
- access to prescription drugs which is not limited by the ability of an individual to pay for them.
Actions to achieve high quality health care should include:
- adoption and strict enforcement of high standards for all long-term care services for older Texans
- programs to improve the training, pay, benefits, and retention of personnel engaged in planning, regulation, and delivery of care
- policies that promote training in geriatrics at all levels of medical and nursing education
- coordination of benefits from Medicare, Medicaid, and other publicly funded programs in order to serve individuals who are eligible for more than one program
- sufficient funding to support comprehensive, high quality health care for older adults.
Reflecting a widespread interest in issues surrounding health care, delegates to the 1999 LWV- TX Convention approved the Continuum of Health Care for Older Adults study. Focused on health care options for older adults, the study examined existing laws and regulations relating to health care for older adults; a wide range of health care options for indigent and non-indigent older adults at varying states in their lives; and accessibility to available health care options including the financial implications of these options. A study committee produced a Facts & Issues: A Continuum of Care: Health Issues for Older Adults, 2000, which was distributed to League members, public officials and agencies, and other interested groups and individuals. Consensus was reached in the fall of 2000 and the state board approved the new position in November of that year.