Who will take care of aging West Virginia?
03/25/2013 - Charleston Daily Mail
CHARLESTON, W. Va. - A spokesman for companies that provide in-home care services in West Virginia told the House Committee on Senior Citizen Issues Wednesday that cumbersome state regulations make it difficult for registered personal care providers to get the certificates of need required by law.
An informal survey of 52 providers found:
* Nearly 95 percent have services available only during normal office hours.
* Almost 60 percent offer services only on weekdays.
* Only two offer services on holidays.
* Fewer than 40 percent can provide in-home visits twice a day - and that depends heavily on location, location, location.
* Most providers apparently can start service within a month.
* State-supported programs such as Lighthouse and FAIR have waiting lists of three months to a year in most cases.
"This is an issue now, and it's not an issue that's going to go away," said Phil Shimer of TSG Consulting, the company that conducted the survey.
In fact, it might get worse.
The median age in West Virginia - 41.3 - is the second oldest among the 50 states. The Mountain State also has the second highest percentage of people 65 and older - 16 percent - in the nation.
The state's death rate exceeds its birth rate as well.
Assuming these trends continue, it appears there's a whole lot of caregiving in West Virginia's future, and a less-than-reassuring answer as to who will provide it.