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States Beginning to Cut Medicaid Services for Elderly and Disabled

  • December 22nd, 2002

In an effort to reduce Medicaid spending, cash-strapped states are beginning to cut back on long-term care services for the elderly and disabled, or are making it harder for them to qualify for coverage

Oregon Medicaid officials say they intend to tighten the criteria by which state residents qualify for long-term care services under the Medicaid program. In the coming months, the state expects to be cutting more than 10,000 currently eligible recipients from the long-term care program, according to the National Senior Citizens Law Center. One approach may be to substantially constrict eligibility.

Meanwhile, earlier in the year Idaho announced that it would change the eligibility criteria for those receiving home and community-based services, which allow many elderly people to avoid being placed in a nursing home. The state planned to reduce the number of recipients of such services by judging the eligibility of both future and current recipients on a stricter scale. Advocates, family members of recipients and facility associations mobilized to fight the proposals, saying that some of the 2,064 people affected would suffer serious injury or would die. Two days before the plans were to go into effect, the state decided to delay implementation. According to news reports, the governor is reviewing the plan.

Finally, Michigan residents with disabilities or other long-term medical needs may no longer be able to receive Medicaid-covered services at home because of new state guidelines, according to an article in the Detroit Free Press. Under the proposed guidelines, the state would not be required to pay for home care. Advocates for Medicaid recipients say the state is trying to save money by not paying caregivers what it would pay a nursing home or other institution to care for people with disabilities or other medical needs.

The state is "bargaining on people keeping their loved ones at home rather than sending them to restrictive settings, such as nursing homes," said Patricia Kefalas Dudek, an attorney.

To read the article on Michigan's policy change in the Detroit Free Press, click on: www.freep.com/news/mich/ncare17_20021217.htm (Link may be only temporarily available.)

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Last Modified: 12/22/2002

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