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News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, Sept. 25, 2006

Contact: CMS Media Affairs
(202) 690-6145

HHS Partners With States On Long-Term Care Education Efforts

“Own Your Future” Campaign Promotes Long-Term Care Planning in Six States

The Department of Health and Human Services has announced a partnership with six states that would help Americans take an active role in planning ahead for their future long-term care needs.

Georgia, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Texas were chosen to participate in the next round of HHS’ “Own Your Future" campaign, an aggressive education and outreach effort designed to promote long-term care planning among state residents. These six states were selected from 16 applications received in response to HHS’ invitation for proposals.

“There’s strong evidence that personal control leads to much better consumer satisfaction, better health outcomes, and lower costs per person served,” HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt said. “More long-term care planning means more people will have the ability to choose the long-term care service, supports, and finance options that are best for them.”

Governors of the six participating states will send letters to all households containing residents who are between the ages of 45-65, promoting awareness of aging needs and encouraging them to order a free Long-Term Care Planning Kit. This kit features information about Medicare and Medicaid benefit packages, outlines ways to plan ahead and legal issues to consider, and provides guidance on how to assess private financing options. The letters from the governors are expected to reach a total of approximately 5.8 million households during the coming year.

The program is coordinated by three HHS components -- the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) and the Administration on Aging (AoA).

“It’s important for people to understand what they will need to address in their long-term care as they age,” said CMS Administrator Mark B. McClellan, M.D., Ph.D. “The states are important partners since they deliver much of the long-term care that people require in their older years.”

The “Own Your Future” campaign is part of ongoing Administration efforts to ensure that all people needing long-term care services and support achieve a high quality of life, in the least restrictive environment possible. “Increased planning for long-term care is likely to increase people’s ability to remain at home with better use of their own resources, and may also reduce pressures on public programs,” said Assistant Secretary for Aging Josefina G. Carbonell.

CMS will contribute $3 million to fund the National Clearinghouse for Long-Term Care Information, which supports the expansion of the core awareness campaign activities in additional states and development of a Web site to enhance consumer access to long-term care information. States are also encouraged to implement additional complementary state-specific activities to take advantage of local resources and referrals.

The new federal-state partnerships represent the next round of the education campaign, which HHS has been working on with the National Governors Association (NGA) for the last three years. Consumer response to the campaign to date has exceeded expectations, both in terms of consumer interest and in the number of residents who have initiated long-term care planning actions.

“The campaign is a good start toward guaranteeing independence, choice, and dignity for countless Americans who want to have more control over their long-term care service delivery options,” said Dr. McClellan. “We are supporting better options for financing long-term care, meaningful incentives that make planning attractive and increased awareness about what public programs pay and what Americans should plan to pay themselves.”

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Last revised: September 25, 2006