Scorecard Ranks States on Long-Term Care Services

A new report ranks states on the quality and accessibility of their long-term care services and concludes there is a lot of room for improvement. The 2014 State Long-Term Services and Supports Scorecard finds that quality of care varies enormously across the states- but affordability is a big issue nationally. (Read the report at

The scorecard- a collaboration between the AARP– The Commonwealth Fund– and The SCAN Foundation– measured states’ long-term care system performance in five areas: affordability and access- choice of setting and provider- quality of life and quality of care- support for family caregivers- and effective transitions between care settings. Minnesota- Washington- Oregon- and Colorado ranked the highest while Kentucky- Alabama- Mississippi- and Tennessee ranked the lowest. The groups conducted a similar study in 2011.

According to the report- even in the highest-ranking states the cost of long-term care is unaffordable for middle-income families. The report notes that “on average- nursing home costs would consume 246 percent of the median annual household income of older adults.”

States with a Medicaid system that functioned as an adequate safety net – reaching those with low and moderate incomes — ranked higher on the scorecard- indicating that state public policy is important to improving care overall. The scorecard concludes that while some progress is being made- it is not enough to meet the needs of the growing elderly population.