Health Care

Vermont’s long-term care in crisis now

by Guy Page

Last week’s announced closure of a 30-bed Newport nursing home due to low insurance reimbursement rates highlights the growing crisis of long-term care availability and quality in Vermont.

  1. Vermont has the oldest population in the nation.
  2. Vermont’s long-term care facilities are woefully understaffed.
  3. Vermont’ long-term care facilities are at maximum capacity. Contributing factors to the scarcity of beds are many.
  4. Vermont’s long-term care facilities are severely underfunded. Part of the problem is low insurance reimbursement rates; another is the nursing shortage requiring heavy reliance on expensive ‘traveler’ nurses.

“We are past the point of preventing a crisis in care,” Jill Mazza Olson, executive director of Visiting Nurses Associations of Vermont, said in a statement released January 5. This statement is published in full below:

Members of the Long-term Care Crisis Coalition (LTCCC), comprised of long-term care providers and advocates for older Vermonters, released statements to the Legislature following the Governor’s Inaugural Address regarding the need to protect and support access to long-term care for older Vermonters.

“Vermont’s population is one of the oldest in the country,” said Ruby Baker, executive director of Community of Vermont Elders, a statewide education and advocacy organization. “The system has been adjusting and adapting to respond to the growing and changing needs of older Vermonters for decades without adequate funding. It is now facing severe crisis, made worse by the pandemic. As Vermonters age, we simply cannot ignore the need to make this essential care a priority. Vermonters’ lives depend on it.”

While the Jan. 5 address acknowledged Vermont’s workforce shortages and aging population, the LTCCC stressed it is urgent for legislators to remember that chronic underfunding, the workforce crisis, and rising costs of providing care have put access to long-term care at risk for older and disabled Vermonters.

“We are past the point of preventing a crisis in care. Access to long-term care has already been reduced in some parts of the state as a result of the challenges facing providers,” said Jill Mazza Olson, executive director of VNAs of Vermont, comprised of Vermont’s local, independent home health and hospice agencies.

“There are three immediate solutions the Legislature can implement to address this crisis,” said Olson and LTCCC members:

  1. Ensure adequate payment for care by raising reimbursement rates to a sustainable level.
    Long-term care services need rate increases of 40 to 80 percent in order to bring payment in line with cost.
  2. Implement a common-sense process for periodic updates to reimbursement rates to keep pace with inflation and changing market pressures.
    There is currently no process in place to ensure the stability and sustainability of long-term care in Vermont.
  3. Make substantial investments in recruiting and retaining the long-term care workforce across the continuum of care.
    The LTCCC supports the recommendations made in the Agency of Human Service’s 2021 Health Care Workforce Development Strategic Plan.

“We are urging lawmakers and the Governor to address Vermont’s long term care crisis this legislative session,” said Molly Dugan, director of policy and strategic initiatives for Cathedral Square. “The lack of equitable access to high quality care and support impacts all of us, and we must work together to achieve a stable and sustainable system of care for older and disabled Vermonters, their families, and our long-term care workforce.”

The LTCCC represents more than 200 providers of assisted living, adult day services, area agencies on aging, home health agencies, residential care homes, nursing homes, and other organizations who care for Vermonters who need long-term care services. This coalition has come together to call for greater action and unite as a sector responsible for caring for some of Vermont’s sickest and most vulnerable. Information on the LTCCC, including a list of members, can be found at

Categories: Health Care

9 replies »

  1. All three bullet points say the same thing….more taxpayer money. I researched long-term care back in 2004. There were some good plans formulating, one being in Maine. As with all common sense based solutions, it all derails when profiteers and and bureacrats control it and manipulate it all to their own benefit, not for the community or for the elders benefit. Today, the control is all under big pharma, DC pork, non-profit grifters, and for-profit Wall Street investors. If anyone attemps to go outside that iron-clad box controlled by the giants, they are stopped cold in their tracks. There are good solutions planned a decade ago. There are good, ethical people more than willing to implement those plans. Unfortunately, as with all things these days, the greed and corruption won’t allow it to happen.

  2. The legislature is much more interested in funding free babysitting, since it also gives the opportunity to brainwash the young and impressionable to their socialist ways. The marxists in Montpelier do like to have cradle to grave power over the whole population if the unions involved in the provided services give their support in the form of democrat donations, but they realize the old folks are set in their ways and more immune to indoctrination. “The kids are the future”…of the moonbat agenda.

  3. 2023 is looking like a year of legislative crisis for the super-majority. In their fervor to fulfill the socialist agenda, details large and small are being overlooked and intentionally ignored. Like Medicaid reimbursements. With over 1/3 of Vermont’s population receiving some form of Medicaid coverage and an apparently 9000 Vermonters receiving some form of “Choices for Care”(elder care, per The eldercare problem will only increase.
    Perhaps, professor baruth and ms. krowinski could divert their attention away from transgender surgery for children, banning certain firearms and Clean Heat Standards
    long enough to fix the problems with health care and Medicaid they themselves have kicked down the road. The grand design of single-payer healthcare died a decade ago- and all of the nomenklatura’s attempts to revive this ridiculous plan have again failed. The legislature is negligent yet again in blatantly ignoring this issue that is fast becoming a crisis for Vermont’s elderly and their families. These elitists get a paycheck- from Vermont’s taxpayers for their work (supposedly) to legislate for the benefit of Vermont’s citizens. All citizens, not just those that the legislature deems worthy.
    It is long past time for the elected politicians of Vermont to act as the employees of the citizens that they are- not the omnipotent rulers of a socialist fantasy kingdom.
    As voters and taxpayers, it is incumbent of us to demand this of our elected and unelected public servants. professor baruth, ms. krowinski and every other elected official took an oath that requires this, we must hold them to task.

    • I hope you dont mind the repeating of an important sentence from your comment, as our bloated body of elected (and many appointed) state officials need to have it rubbed in their smug faces:

      “It is long past time for the elected politicians of Vermont to act as the employees of the citizens that they are- not the omnipotent rulers of a socialist fantasy kingdom.”

  4. I am a senior with disabilities with serious mobility issues on Choices for Care, one of many, who is being DENIED senior services NOW and needs full services to remain in my home, without any family to help! Without sufficient employees Home Health just stopped providing ALL MY SERVICES for 3 months and now only has time to buy groceries! No cleaning, bed or laundry for over a year! Still being denied home health care and now prepared meals. Lack of services and neglect has continued to get worse for 3 years since pandemic started! Even before, one by one the Programs closed down or have no funding or no more access to volunteers, denial of home health homemaker services, no more Meals on Wheels. No access to medical care because cannot get out of house. Every agency contacted, legal aid, and elder abuse hotline with official complaints and no one is doing anything! Some people in agencies unable to help because of their agency guidelines and restrictions and gaps in services across agencies.Even contacted governor and politicians. Seniors and people with disabilities are being left to totally fend for themselves without needed supports, being treated horribly bad and suffering in silence! They have just stopped providing services covered by Medicare and/or Medicaid or kick people off programs without any alternatives for care, and no one is providing money so we can hire someone ourselves. This neglect and abandonment is a much bigger crisis than people realize! Cannot put into words how bad this has effected me , my home, and my health!

    • Thank you for sharing the Truth. As the State declared in 2020, it was everyone’s duty “to protect the most vulnerable.” In 2023, the most vulnerable are suffering far more than anyone else and left high and dry by those who are supposed to support and help them. An absolute disgrace!

  5. What does the rest of the world do? God loves multigeneration houses and the kids can one day care for their parents as the parents cared for them when they were young. Unfortunately state policies implemented by self serving bureaucrats in Montpelier have forced all the young people to leave.

    • You make a great point Sam. We need more multi-generational houses built, not single-family homes. Most new European houses are built this way. We live in one and were able to take care of our mothers when they could no longer live alone.

  6. I worked 10 years with the Vermont Area Agency on Aging. We pursued, wrangled & got services & benefits for seniors in every state. We did semi-paralegal advocacy & paperwork based on the written requirements of various agencies & procedures– until the Feds shut us down nationwide for providing FREE help to seniors supposedly in competition against the lawyers seniors can’t afford.

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