On April 30, IMPH and their Long-Term Care (LTC) Leadership Council released an updated report documenting the systemic progress made in the last several years on critical issues impacting the future of our elder population and their caregivers. The full report will be available on the South Carolina IMPH website. 

The 2019 progress report detailed the collaboration that has taken place between various public and private entities to create lasting improvements in South Carolina’s system of long-term services and supports (LTSS).

For the present and future public health benefits of all South Carolinians, long-term services and supports for seniors and people with disabilities need both immediate and prolonged public attention to sustain and improve a complex, disjointed and expensive long-term care system,” said Joel Smith, Vice-Chair of IMPH’s Board of Directors and the original Chair of the LTC Taskforce. 

To keep focused attention on the recommendations made by the LTC Taskforce and to advance implementation efforts, a Leadership Council (LC) was convened by the South Carolina Institute of Medicine and Public Health (IMPH) in the fall of 2015. The latest report is based on an evaluation of the progress made on the report’s recommendations by the Leadership Council. 

“IMPH and the Leadership Council are committed to bringing a wide array of stakeholders together to address the multi-layered challenges and create solutions to providing care and improved health services for a growing aging population in the Palmetto state,” Smith added. 

Working from the recommendations beginning in the June 2015 report:Creating Direction: A Guide for Improving Long-Term Care in South Carolina, the stakeholders have worked to collectively develop cost-effective, actionable solutions to current and future challenges for long-term care services and supports.  

In the original report, the taskforce issued 30 recommendations highlighting numerous areas that need statewide action and the attention of lawmakers and the health community.

The progress report released today highlights various successes, including:  

  • Simultaneous forward movement by the South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (SCDHHS) to improve care coordination and comprehensive care plans for “dual-eligible” Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries;  
  • Improved utilization of the Vulnerable Adult Guardian Ad Litem program and; 
  • Introduction of legislation that protects older adults, including the Vulnerable Adult Maltreatment Registry (H. 3723).  

The latest report included recommendations of various other opportunities for lawmakers to implement policies to expand support for Medicaid-sponsored long-term services and supports over the next five years which strengthen and expand home and community-based services as part of a full spectrum of care options.

By the year 2030, nearly a fifth of the total population within Palmetto State will require long-term services and care for a broad range of routine daily living activities. The solutions set forth in the report provide a blueprint for providing those services and supports as well as the public-private partnerships that can support long-term and cost-effective programs and quality health services. 

“As the aging population increases significantly over the next twenty years, more innovations, more services and more resources will be necessary,” said Kester S. Freeman, IMPH’s executive director.  “This report provides us with tangible recommendations all stakeholders can utilize to ensure greater investments, and improved action can be taken by all stakeholders, elected officials and caregivers to create an array of comprehensive services that ensure optimal and accessible care for every senior resident in our state.”

Read the full 2019 Progress Report "Creating Direction: A Guide for Improving Long Term Care in South Carolina."