AARP ranks Washington #2 in the nation for long-term care, support of family caregivers

Release Date: 
Sep 28 2023
DSHS Office of Communications
Jessica Nelson

OLYMPIA - Washington is ranked second in the nation for supporting older residents and people with disabilities, according to the AARP. The 2023 Long-Term Services and Supports State Scorecard is compiled every three years by the AARP, the Commonwealth Fund, The John A. Hartford Foundation and the Scan Foundation. The report focuses on how the Department of Social and Health Services performs in more than two dozen categories related to affordability and access to care, patient choice of care setting and provider, quality and safety for consumers, support for family caregivers and community integration.

“This ranking is a reflection of the hard work and dedication of DSHS staff, providers and family caregivers across the state of Washington,” said DSHS Secretary Jilma Meneses. “Nearly everyone in our state is impacted by the quality of our long-term care, whether it’s a family member or loved one, or a personal need. We will continue to look for ways to expand and improve on the services available to meet the needs of our clients and their families.”

DSHS’ Aging and Long-Term Support Administration continues to provide care that allows people to remain at home or in community-based settings of their choice, through innovative services and programs, such as:

  • Presumptive eligibility: Allows DSHS clients to self-attest to meeting financial requirements, so we can provide services more quickly. This enables people to return home for care after being released from the hospital, rather than staying in a nursing home while their Medicaid eligibility is determined.
  • Self-directed program enrollment through Medicaid waivers: Enables clients and their families greater choice in directing their care in their own homes and permits qualified family and friends to be paid to provide care.  
  • Medicaid LTSS balanced spending: Increases the number of Washingtonians able to receive care and services in their own home and/or community, rather than facilities like nursing homes. This has provided people with more choice and has saved the state $4.9 billion between 2000 and 2020.
  • Family Caregiver Support Program: Provides information, referral, education, counseling, consultation, respite care and other services to nearly 13,000 unpaid family caregivers.

“We are committed to providing a range of services and supports that meet people’s needs and give them choices,” says Bea Rector, Assistant Secretary for the Aging and Long-Term Support Administration. “We recognize there are still challenges for our long-term care system, including a workforce shortage and a need to increase supports for unpaid family caregivers. Still, this report represents efforts by DSHS and the state to promote policies and strategies that improve people’s lives and make community living a reality for an increasing number of people.”

Minnesota ranks first in this year’s report, with the District of Columbia, Massachusetts and Colorado rounding out the top five. Washington ranked second overall on the scorecard in 2020, 2014 and 2011, and first in 2017.