February 8, 2024

Provider groups applaud millions in proposed investments in older adults but say plans fall short

McKnights Senior Living

A proposed $11.7 million investment in Pennsylvania’s master plan on aging is being celebrated by leaders in the senior living industry for prioritizing the needs of older adults, but experts expressed disappointment that the funding doesn’t directly affect providers or workers.

Last spring, Gov. Josh Shapiro (D) signed an executive order to develop a 10-year Master Plan for Older Adults. His proposed 2024-2025 budget, released Tuesday, backs up that order with almost $12 million in investments geared toward ensuring access to quality care and services for older adults in the Keystone State.

Other proposals that would affect the state’s older adults include an investment of $1.9 million to create the Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders Division at the Department of Aging, $10 million to permanently fund the Department of Health’s Long-Term Care Transformation Office and $765,000 for adequate staffing to respond to complaints and ensure stability within long-term care facilities.

The Long-Term Care Transformation Office provides guidance and assistance to assisted living communities, personal care homes and other long-term care settings across the state. The office is focused on long-term care workforce resiliency, infection prevention and control, emergency preparedness and sustainable outbreak response operations. 

The Pennsylvania Assisted Living Association said that the office has been an “invaluable resource” to many personal care homes and assisted living communities through initiatives, including the Long-Term Care Resiliency, Infrastructure Supports, and Empowerment, or RISE, program and the Quality Investment Pilot. PALA also recently collaborated with the LTC Transformation Office to identify practicable policy solutions to support workforce development in senior living, PALA Executive Director Susan Saxinger told McKnight’s Senior Living.

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