House Care Eligibility May Change Soon
Georgia Anderson, while bending down to find something under her bed in her one bedroom apartment, fell to the ground and become unconscious. Georgia suffers from a large number of health problems. After the incident, she got the assistance of certified nursing aides, who helped her to bathe, clean and do many little things that Anderson found difficult to do by herself.
However, this could soon change as a result of a provision that is waiting for its final approval if the state budget is adopted in the coming few weeks after being passed in the House. The provision in the state budget could lead Anderson into a nursing home or on her family's charity that could cost high.
The provision has been written into the budget by the Department of Health and Human Services that disqualifies the disabled and elderly for in-home care through the Personal Care Services Benefit of Medicaid. The provision could affect thousands life Anderson in the state.
The provision would make the Medicaid patients who are mostly in need of them to receive them by changing the eligibility requirements. However, like Anderson, who is having smaller needs, there would not be such change of eligibility requirements.
The provision also encompasses the reduction of the number of hours the health care worker are paid by Medicaid to remain in the home of the patient.
Presently, there are about 36,000 patients who receive in-house care from the state. It is estimated that the provision would affect over 70 percent of these patients while the number of health care jobs that could be at risk is about 20,000.
According to Brad Dean of the Department of Health and Human Services, the program is among the many changes being undertaken in the state. He feels that there are many people in the Department who are concerned about it. The Department has been asked to reduce $1.2 billion from its budget. Brad said that everything the Department does is aimed in cutting in order to achieve this. Every services of the Department, including programs for the aged and disable, are being cut.
However, the opponents to the provision feel that the measure would hurt the residents and finally it is the state that would have to bear the extra cost. They feel that the step is completely immoral and institutional based. According to them, it is easier to qualify for nursing home care by a patient, as they pay an amount which is three to four times more, instead of qualifying for home care services. Steps are being taken in the rest of the country to move people back into their home while it is the other way round in North Carolina.
According to Anderson, she is not sure how long she can take care of herself. She suffers from osteoporosis and back problems and walks with a hunched over gait. But the thought of going to a nursing home for care makes her to cower.
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