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National Commission for Quality Long-Term Care Holds Public Hearing to Address Healthcare Crisis

Co-Chairs Bob Kerrey, Newt Gingrich Listen to Public Testimony 

July 22, 2005 

Contact:  Doug Pace 
[email protected]  

Washington, DC--Topics ranging from Medicaid to healthcare safety standards were discussed as the National Commission for Quality Long-term Care held its first public hearing Friday. The hearing focused on challenges and issues surrounding the quality of long-term care in the United States and the realistic opportunities that exist for improving care and quality of life. 

Problems such as quality, staffing, financing and dignity-of-life issues were conveyed to the commissioners. But the Commission, which is co-chaired by former Sen. Bob Kerrey and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, also learned, through testimony and an innovation demonstration period, of promising new work that could improve the quality of long-term care for all Americans. 

“The Commission is committed to establishing a bold vision for the future of quality long-term care. We are determined to articulate broad goals, specific objectives, and clear benchmarks for quality. I am especially concerned that we produce an action plan that confronts some of the thorniest issues in long-term care, such as public costs, private savings, workforce deployment, personal dignity, and the role of technology,” said Sen. Kerrey, a former governor and two-term Democratic senator from Nebraska and current president of The New School in New York City. “There is a great challenge ahead of us.” 

“This Commission is committed to transforming the long-term care industry into one of healthy, active aging,” said former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, founder of the DC-based Center for Health Transformation. “The testimony we are hearing today is identifying the solutions and policies that will encourage the aging baby boomers and their children to stay active and healthy for as long as possible, thus maximizing their quality of life, and the period in which they can live independently with the greatest prosperity. This is a remarkable public policy opportunity.” 

The hearing consisted of testimony from a broad range of long-term care stakeholders, including representatives from federal and state governments, consumer advocates, researchers and industry members. It included invited testimony and two public comment sessions. 

Written testimony will be available on the Commission’s Web site. Information and comments from today’s hearing will become part of the Commission’s recommendations to achieve sustainable quality improvement. 

In addition to the co-chairs, the commissioners are:

  • Hon. Mark R. Warner (D), Governor of Virginia
  • Hon. Dirk Kempthorne (R), Governor of Idaho
  • Former Senator David Durenberger (R-MN)
  • Monsignor Charles J. Fahey, Fordham University, Bronx, NY
  • Michael Millenson, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL
  • William D. Novelli, AARP, Washington, DC
  • Richard Payne, MD, Duke Institute on Care at the End of Life, Duke University School of Divinity, Durham, NC
  • Sister Mary Jean Ryan, SSM Health Care, St. Louis, MO
  • Judith A. Salerno, MD, MS, National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD
  • William J. Scanlon, Oak Hill, VA
  • Sandra R. Smoley, RN, BSN, The Sandy Smoley Group, Fair Oaks, CA
  • Jeanette C. Takamura, MSW, PhD, Columbia University School of Social Work, New York, NY
  • Kenneth W. Kizer, MD, MPH, National Quality Forum, Washington, DC

About the National Commission for Quality Long-Term Care 

The National Commission for Quality Long-Term Care is a blue-ribbon commission created to evaluate the quality of long-term care, identify factors influencing the ability to improve quality of care nationally, and make recommendations about national efforts that should lead to sustainable quality improvement. The 15-member volunteer panel is a privately run, non-ideological, non-partisan group that seeks to improve the quality of long-term care in America.