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Massachusetts Gets Mediocre Marks in Nursing Care

term care nursing facility. Inevitably, it is one of the most difficult decisions in any family's life, regardless of the specific elder law issues involved.

In Massachusetts, that decision certainly isn't made any easier by the mediocre marks given to the state's nursing homes in a recent study by AARP.

The study by the AARP Public Policy Institute rated Massachusetts only 30th among the states in a measure of nursing home care that analyzed the quality, availability and affordability of long-term care.

The price tag of long-term care in Massachusetts is a major concern. Only five states are more expensive for residents who pay their own costs. Deborah Banda, the AARP state director for Massachusetts, says the study shows that the state needs to rethink the way doctors and care facilities get reimbursed.

Despite the high cost of care, the AARP study also pointed out numerous problems with the services available to nursing home residents. Despite lots of rhetoric in recent years about increasing the availability of community-based care, there still aren't enough people receiving that before they enter a care facility.

States that ranked well in the AARP report allocate up to 60 percent of their long-term care funds on community-based care for the elderly and disabled. In Massachusetts, that figure is less than 40 percent.

Dr. Judy Ann Bigby, the Massachusetts health and human services secretary, pledges that the state will do better. The creation of more community-based group homes would be one good place to start.

Source: "Mass. nursing care found lacking," Boston.com, 9-8-11

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