“This unprecedented action taken by the Department of Health spotlights a significant and growing problem with long-term care in Louisiana—and the state’s over-reliance on nursing home care."

Denise Bottcher, state director of AARP Louisiana, which serves nearly 500,000 Louisianans age 50+, issued the following statement in reaction to the Department of Health’s announcement regarding potential cuts to the state’s Medicaid program and the impact on Louisiana’s most vulnerable citizens.

“Threatening to evict 17,000 nursing home residents from the very places they call home, and take away critical services that help many other seniors and persons with disabilities remain independent at home and in their communities, is no way to negotiate a state budget.

“AARP calls on Gov. John Bel Edwards, State Senators, and State Representatives—from both sides of the aisle—to come together, act responsibly and do what’s right for Louisiana’s vulnerable seniors and their caregiving families. This issue is not about Democrats, Republicans, or politics as usual. This is a moral issue. Our parents, neighbors, friends, veterans—deserve your attention, and your support, not unnecessary threats of homelessness.

“Be assured: AARP Louisiana will stand up against nursing home evictions, and fight for services our seniors need to remain in their homes and communities. Already, we are activating our grassroots network to contact their elected officials, and working with Louisiana’s long-term care ombudsman, who is responsible for the safety of Louisianans receiving care in nursing homes and other facilities.

“This unprecedented action taken by the Department of Health spotlights a significant and growing problem with long-term care in Louisiana—and the state’s over-reliance on nursing home care. Keep in mind: Between Fiscal Years 2014 and 2017, spending on nursing homes rose over $100 million—even with empty beds in many facilities—while the availability of services at home and in the community declined sharply. AARP Louisiana will continue to fight to improve the care options for our state’s seniors so that they can get the best care when and where they need it.

“As of 2017, Louisiana ranked at the bottom of AARP’s Long-Term Services and Supports Scorecard, at number 40 of all states.”

Contributed by AARP