A post-pandemic path to solving the nursing home crisis

Lifestyle

In “Long-Term Care Policy after COVID-19—Solving the Nursing Home Crisis,” published in the New England Journal of Medicine, a collaboration of experts across several Penn schools advocates for “a combination of funding, regulation, and a new strategy that fully supports a range of institutional and noninstitutional care.”

Professor of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine and Robert D. Eilers Professor of Health Care Management at the Wharton School Rachel M. Werner and Associate Professor of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the Perelman School of Medicine Norma B. Coe co-authored the pathbreaking paper.

Hoffman, Werner, and Coe argue that the instability of nursing homes pre-pandemic only worsened through the coronavirus crisis and that we need new solutions to how we pay for and provide long-term care. The authors identify three major areas for change: (1) substantially increased Medicaid funding in care in all settings, including home-based settings; (2) better, safe, affordable residential options; and (3) a more coherent financing system to pay for long-term care.

“We are in a moment of crisis for nursing homes,” they write. “Now should be a time of reckoning with the fundamental flaws in the organization of long-term care in this country. There are no easy fixes, but we must do better.”

Hoffman is an expert on health care law and policy and examines some of the most important legal and social issues of our time, including health insurance regulation, the Affordable Care Act, Medicare and retiree healthcare expenses, and long-term care. Her research aims to bring greater descriptive and analytical clarity to the purposes of health regulation and to deepen our understanding of how health insurance design and regulation both reflects and shapes social consciousness around risk.