Surprise: Long-Term Care in California is Very Wasteful

$7 billion worth of services for 1 million of the state’s low-income aged and disabled citizens are provided by seven different departments, none of which are coordinated via a central database.

This makes it virtually impossible to properly coordinate or determine how much each service actually costs, or to prevent overlapping or duplicate services. The result is that many members of this population wind up getting treatment in nursing homes and ERs, even though the purpose of these programs is to provide care in an individual’s home. Moreover, rigid bureaucracies are discouraging hospitals, nursing homes and non-profit organizations from proposing new ideas that might cut costs.

Full article on California’s wasteful long-term care system.

Comments (4)

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  1. Bruce says:

    I’m supposed to be surprised at this? Oops. You were being facetious. Surely.

  2. Devon Herrick says:

    There was an article in the New York Times awhile back that basically said it would be cheaper for two or three people who could no longer take care of themselves to get an apartment together and hire around the clock care, which they would all share. Maybe California should expand Cash & Counseling to allow people this type of option.

  3. John R. Graham says:

    What is incredible (or perhaps not) is the notion that the problem of bureaucratic rigidity will be solved by centralizing all the processes into one giant bureaucracy under a czar!

    The problem in California is that the state has not implemented policies (some of which it was encouraged and even required to do under the Bush Administration) to crack down on Medicaid LTC fraud by the so-called “eldercare” industry which counsels affluent seniors how to artificially impoverish themselves in order to qualify for Medi-Cal LTC.

    Steve Moses of the Center for Long-Term Care Reform has written a compelling report on how to fix this by eliminating the incentives for this type of fraud ( For example, why would a 90-year old buy life insurance? The only reason is to shelter the asset from being counted against Medi-Cal LTC eligibity.

  4. Alexis says:

    I can’t say I’m at all surprised. Perhaps the impending debt doom will force the CA bureaucracy to focus on other things, rather than stifling innovation, but I’m just optimistic.