ASA 2013 Can Aging Get Out of the Box?

by Louis on April 2, 2013

I always enjoy the American Society on Aging conference. Everyone is focused and passionate. People care about their work and their clients. The dedication is not so clear at all conferences.

The big buzz this year? Probably just how fast the accountable care act is going to change health care. Most bureaucratic entities are slow moving.  Stodgy, slow to move, mired in silos. But health care will change quickly… according to one session I attended….by 2015 it will be hard to recognize the system as the incentives, supports and mechanisms change. At this point the focus is on government funded health care. Two points/questions:

1. Will rapid changes in health care push aging services to innovate as well? The Accountable Care Act points to Aging in Place 2.0 to solve their problems. Nouveau Home and Community Based Services are the only way to achieve their goals and avoid the penalties. I have heard folks from health systems ready to pay for services they have never paid attention to before. Filling their needs is aging’s big chance.

Can my dedicated friends in aging use this disruptive time to get out of the box? Or will they be so disoriented by the changes in health care that they become conservative? Too much change is difficult…organizational charts, jobs, skills, experience, screening, eligibility, connections…what you know comes under fire. Some may dig in. This will be a big mistake.

Aging needs not just to follow health care changes but to move in new directions independently. I just read an RFP for a county strategic planning process. It does not ask to look at out of the box. At this stage if you are not looking for novel you are going to replicate and entrench what needs to change. I spoke to senior officials from another jurisdiction. I could not even hear through the bureaucratic speak. When I mentioned an idea I have been noodling for a few days…just an idea…I was shut right down by a conversation stopper about funding. That cannot attitude is not going to move into the future.

2. What change is happening for private pay services? A great deal of personal/private funds are spent on care. Innovation is also happening in the private moderate and above incomes sectors. These are not pushed by CMS subsidies and penalties. They are pushed by entrepreneurs providing better services to people who are paying for it because they can and because they care. The What’s Next Boomer Business Conference is hyped up on technology. The main conference is focused on government and not for profit provided services. No one is focused on how private aging service is changing. Will those innovations inform government services? Some of this should trickle down.

Some new and exciting models will occur in government funded programs. The best innovations should trickle up to the private care sector. We need to watch, push and learn at both ends. I call this Trickle UP/Trickle DOWN.

Change is coming. The Tsunami is coming. There will never be a better chance to get out of the box. Now is the time to get wild.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Jo Hetland April 10, 2013 at 11:16 am

I am interested in following this topic.


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