Demand for older adult services is outpacing actual adults served, according to new UCLA Center for Health Policy Research data

According to research conducted by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, there is more demand for the state Multipurpose Senior Services Program (MSSP) and Community-Based Adult Services (CBAS) than is currently being met. 

 

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A needs assessment conducted by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research in partnership with the California Department of Aging comparing actual use versus potential need for these services revealed that 243,400 Medi-Cal recipients were likely eligible for CBAS in 2020, while only 38,373 were actually served. 

The report notes that 51% of eligible individuals over the age of 65 received services, while only 2% or less of individuals ages 18-49 were served. The report also states that while no racial or ethnic group met their estimated need for CBAS, Black or African American and multiracial individuals were the least likely to receive these services. 

For MSSP, approximately 106,700 older adults were estimated to be eligible in 2020, while only 10,324 actually participated in the program. The report notes that eligible individuals that are ages 65-74, Asian, and Black or African American were among the most underserved by the program.

The report also estimates that the demand for CBAS and MSSP will continue to increase through 2050. The chart below shows the projected number of eligible participants for CBAS and MSSP in California from 2020 to 2050.

 

Image: UCLA Center for Health Policy Research

 

The highest percentage of eligible older adults and disabled adults using CBAS was served in the Los Angeles region in 2020, while the lowest percentage was served in the Northern and Sierra regions. The highest percentage of eligible older adults using MSSP was served in the Northern and Sierra regions in 2020, while the lowest percentage was served in the Southern California and Sacramento regions.

The report authors emphasize the importance of raising awareness of the anticipated need for programs like CBAS and MSSP as well as addressing the disparities in access to these programs. They say the data analyzed in the report is meant to help health and social care program officials prepare for this increased demand.

The report recommends strategies such as “… ensuring that providers are available in all of California’s geographic regions, improving communication about available programs, and easing the pathways to program information and enrollment.”

In a statement, Kathryn Kietzman, Director of the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research’s Health Equity Program, said:

“Supportive programs provided to older adults and adults with disabilities at home and in the community are essential to maintaining physical and mental health. As the state continues to implement its Master Plan for Aging​, it is critical that gaps in access to long-term services and supports are addressed.”