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Creating a more person-centered, accessible system of care to enable older adults to more easily connect with long-term services and supports is part of a strategic framework for a national plan on aging released Thursday.

The US Department of Health and Human Services, through its Administration for Community Living, released “Aging in the United States: A Strategic Framework for a National Plan on Aging.” 

The framework calls for partnerships that cut across public and private sectors and include older adults, family caregivers, the aging services network and other stakeholders. The goal is to identify best practices for service delivery, identify solutions for removing barriers to health and independence for older adults, and more.

The report gave a nod to Nexus Insights’ 2022 report, which called for navigational hubs to help families better understand their long-term care needs and select the best options.

Under the domain of increasing access to LTSS, the report notes that pieces of a more person-centered system already are in place, including ACL’s Eldercare Locator, to connect older adults to organizations to support healthy aging at home or in a long-term care community, as well as No Wrong Door, a network to support individuals needing long-term care.

The report also addressed improved access to Medicaid LTSS, pointing to the expansion of Medicaid home- and community-based services under the American Rescue Plan Act, as well as the final Ensuring Access to Medicaid Services Rule, which was panned by the senior living industry.

Experts from 16 federal agencies and departments worked through the Interagency Coordinating Committee, or ICC, on Healthy Aging and Age-Friendly Communities to create the report, which also includes input from community partners and leaders in the aging services network.

HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said the framework provides a roadmap to build on the departments’ progress “to improve the experience of aging in our country.”

The framework addresses a variety of aspects of needs for an aging population, including coordinated housing and services, aligned healthcare and supportive services, accessible communities, age-friendly workplaces, high-quality LTSS and affordable housing and economic and financial security.

In the coming months, the ICC will engage with stakeholders across the country to gain feedback on the strategic framework and inform the development of the national plan on aging. The ICC was established under the Older Americans Act to foster coordination across the federal government and to develop a national set of recommendations on key aging issues. 

“This report represents a first-of-its-kind and much needed primer for local, state and federal leaders in the United States, outlining exactly what it will take to support the nation’s growing population of older adults, Rear Admiral Paul Reed, MD, HHS deputy assistant secretary for health, said in a statement. “By identifying the unique needs of older adults living in the United States and the necessary resources and tools to promote their health and well-being, this report is a critical step toward developing and implementing systemic solutions to help older adults thrive.”