Planning a Better Future for Dual Eligible Elderly in Montgomery County

Oct 16, 2014
  • Description

Older adults who are dual eligible (who qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid) face a daunting gauntlet of challenges in healthcare. Despite comprehensive coverage through Medicare and Medicaid, the lack of coordination between the two systems creates often insurmountable problems of access and delivery. Federally-funded Medicare lacks coordination and integration with federal-state funded Medicaid. Ironically, it is these dual eligible individuals who so desperately need healthcare since they have a higher incidence of cognitive impairment (including Alzheimer's Disease), mental disorders, diabetes, pulmonary disease and strokes. Further, they are more vulnerable and frail, have lower incomes, and are more isolated than are non-dual eligible elderly. These problems, in turn, contribute to significant challenges with housing, food and transportation. The challenges with access to care are tragic, expensive and avoidable. The high care needs of dual eligible individuals and the associated costs have driven states and the federalgovernment to seek ways to better integrate and coordinate their care. The Affordable Care Act (2010) is teemingwith initiatives, demonstrations, and new opportunities premised on finding a way to better meet dual eligibleindividuals' healthcare needs at a cost-effective rate. While little has yet been done at the state level, localproviders are starting to test innovative approaches to delivering better care to dual eligible individuals. This report summarizes state and federal initiatives and opportunities for delivering better care to dual eligible elderly. It also presents the efforts underway at the County level and by local providers. Following the informational section of the report, the Workgroup presents nine systems change recommendations to better improve the care provided to Montgomery County's dual eligible elderly. The recommendations may stand alone, each reflecting their own systems change, or may be combined in a more encompassing effort at service delivery system overhaul. There are numerous federal opportunities for delivering better care to frail populations. Some of them are specifically targeted towards the dual eligible population and others are targeted towards other populations, but include a considerable number of dual eligible individuals. In the report, we describe five different types ofapproaches and describe examples of each.