An alliance of health and consumer advocacy groups in the Granite State is working to create a coordinated system of long-term care for healthy aging.
New Hampshire has one of the fastest-growing aging populations in the U.S. – and a majority of people say they’d prefer to “age in place” rather than enter an assisted-living facility or nursing home.
Jennifer Delaney, associate state director of advocacy and outreach for AARP New Hampshire, said new legislation would expedite access to home- and community-based services and give more people a choice in their long-term care.
“Folks can get Medicaid services without waiting for the application to process,” said Delaney. “That’s one of the big things that sends folks directly to nursing homes, because a lot of the home-care agencies aren’t able to absorb that cost.”
Delaney says AARP is also working to strengthen the state’s Service Link hotline, which connects older adults to a wide range of support services.
Legislation known as the “Systems of Care for Healthy Aging” bill would create a new long-term systems of care director position to ensure oversight and accountability.
Delaney said AARP has teamed up with groups like the New Hampshire Alliance for Healthy Aging and Alzheimer’s Association on the bill.
It also advocates strengthening New Hampshire’s Prescription Drug Affordability Board, which was created in 2021 to bring greater transparency to how drug prices are set.
When it comes to prescription pricing, Delaney said, sunlight is always the best disinfectant.
“So, it sheds light on how the manufacturers set prices,” said Delaney, “so that will hopefully lower prices for drugs across the board in New Hampshire.”
Delaney added that no one should have to choose between buying prescription drugs or putting food on the table, and she said she thinks the board can serve as a model for other states looking to reduce potential price-gouging for life-saving medications.
The board has already faced legislative challenges to dismantle or reduce its ability to do just that.
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State of New Hampshire Commission on Aging: Annual Report (21/22) the State of New Hampshire Commission on Aging 11/1/22
ServiceLink (website: services, information and details) NH ServiceLink 2022
New Hampshire Prescription Drug Affordability Board/Information…including meeting minutes and videos New Hampshire Prescription Drug Affordability Board 2022
This story was written by Kathryn Carley, a producer at Public News Service, where this story first appeared.