Greater Access to Services and Long-Term Care Will Help Older New Yorkers and Individuals with Disabilities to Live, Work, and Age Where They Want
Revitalization of EMS Services and Medical Transportation Will Help More New Yorkers Access Health Care, Reduce Unnecessary Hospital Visits
Governor Kathy Hochul today announced investments and initiatives aimed at helping older New Yorkers live healthy, fulfilling lives while aging with dignity and independence in the communities of their choice as part of the 2023 State of the State. This plan includes broadening access to aging services, improving quality and transparency in long-term care settings, providing funding for home care teams to serve low-income older adults, and providing respite care for caregivers. Governor Hochul also announced investments to revitalize EMS services statewide to help more New Yorkers access health care and reduce unnecessary hospital visits.
“All New Yorkers should be able to age with dignity and independence in the community of their choosing," Governor Hochul said. "These bold initiatives build on our ongoing efforts to empower older adults, create a Master Plan for Aging and maintain New York’s status as an age-friendly state. By investing in aging services and quality long-term care, we can ensure our communities are both healthy and livable, with the resources that can help older adults live and thrive.”
Building on New York State's status as the first state in the nation to officially receive the age-friendly designation from the AARP and World Health Organization, the initiatives outlined by Governor Hochul are aimed at establishing healthy, livable communities that offer opportunities for older adults, while also improving EMS services and other forms of medical transportation for all New Yorkers. These initiatives include:
Ensuring Access to Aging Services and High-Quality Long-term Care
To address deficiencies in New York State’s long-term care system, Governor Hochul proposes expanding access to aging services, high-quality long-term care, and the ability for older New Yorkers and their caregivers to make informed choices on where to seek care.
- Investing in holistic teams to provide care for low-income adults in their home, helping ensure New Yorkers can age in place.
- Providing respite care for high-need family caregivers, granting relief for those who oversee care of their loved ones.
- Establishing quality reporting and accreditation for assisted living residences and implementing quality improvement initiatives in nursing homes to promote transparency and make it easier for New Yorkers to make informed choices.
Revitalizing Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and Medical Transportation
Governor Hochul proposes broadening the availability of medical transportation options and increasing the number of emergency medical technicians, specifically in rural areas, where access can be limited. This will help broaden access to health care and help reduce unnecessary hospital visits. These proposed initiatives will:
- Ensure emergency transportation providers are appropriately reimbursed for trips, increasing payment for more complex patients.
- Establish a working group to recommend ways to expand access to non-emergency medical transportation.
- Establish nine regional EMS organizations that can better coordinate all the EMS agencies and providers operating within their region and a statewide EMS disaster response system that can rapidly deploy personnel and equipment when and where it is needed during an emergency.
- Allow EMS providers to perform expanded clinical care in the community.
- Permit EMTs to treat patients in place or take patients to urgent care clinics without sacrificing payment for the trip, decreasing the number of unnecessary emergency room visits.
Acting New York State Department of Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald said, “Under Governor Hochul’s leadership, and as the nation's first age-friendly state, New York continues to take steps to make sure that our health care system is responsive to the needs of our State's aging population. These proposals will give us the additional resources we need to build upon the creation of our Master Plan for Aging to ensure aging New Yorkers have access to high-quality long-term care and remain active members of the community."
New York State Department of Health Deputy Commissioner for Aging and Long-Term Care Adam Herbst said, “Governor Hochul continues to demonstrate her commitment to implementing evidence-based policies for addressing some of the biggest challenges for aging New Yorkers. We are grateful for her continued partnership in keeping New York at the forefront of best practices for helping people live longer, happier, and healthier lives.”
New York State Office for the Aging Acting Director Greg Olsen said, “The Governor’s plan addresses fundamental needs of older adults to age with dignity and choice as the State works to advance a Master Plan for Aging to provide opportunities and support for all New Yorkers as they age. I applaud the Governor for these State of the State proposals to expand community-based care options, improve institutional long term care for those who need a higher level of care, and enhance emergency medical transportation. Just as important is the Governor’s focus on helping unpaid family caregivers, 70 percent of whom reported at least one adverse mental health symptom during the pandemic due to the stresses of their role.”
New York has the fourth-largest population of older adults in the United States, with 3.2 million individuals – about 16 percent of the population – over 65. The state’s population of those over the age of 60 is projected to grow to 5.3 million by 2030 with those over 80 years of age exceeding 1.2 million.
Last fall, Governor Hochul signed an Executive Order creating the State's first-ever Master Plan for Aging, a first step toward building a comprehensive roadmap for meeting the socioeconomic needs of all generations of New Yorkers as they age. When completed, the Master Plan for Aging will help to coordinate existing and new State policy and programs for older adults and their families, while also addressing challenges related to communication, coordination, caregiving, long-term care financing, and innovative care models with the overarching aim of furthering the ability for more to age with dignity and independence.