Kansas Aging Department Offering Bonuses to Reduce Nursing Home Census

The Kansas Department of Aging is looking to decrease the state’s number of nursing home residents in favor of less institutional, less expensive forms of care, and is willing to pay $2,000 for each successful transition, reports the Kansas Health Institute.

The agency has compiled a list of 800 residents it believes would be able to move out of their full-care nursing home, and has asked the state’s Area Agencies on Aging and Centers for Independent Living to have their case managers meet with each of those residents to see if they’re able and willing to move, the article says.

The effort is part of Aging Secretary Shawn Sullivan’s ongoing effort to reduce the number of people in nursing homes. Kansas, with its disproportionately elderly population, has a higher percentage of people in full-care nursing homes than all but a handful of other states.

KDoA officials have pledged to pay the case manager’s employer $2,000 for each Medicaid-funded nursing home resident who is able to move out of the nursing home and stay out for at least 60 days.

KDoA Secretary Shawn Sullivan said the payments were designed to offset some of the uncompensated case management costs that hamstrung earlier efforts to reduce the state’s nursing home population.

The state’s nursing home industry is less than pleased with this initiative, however, with some calling the $2,000 a “bounty.” Sullivan refuted this notion, calling it a “mischaracterization” of the payments, none of which have yet been made because of the newness of the policy.

Only about half of those 800 residents are actually able to move out, according to Monte Coffman, administrator of a Coffeyville-based program that provides in-home and nursing care for about 1,500 seniors and people with disabilities. He thinks the initiative’s naysayers are “off-base,” reports KHI.

“The issue is that we’ve got capabilities to support people in their homes that weren’t there a year ago, and we need to be reaching out and letting people know what’s there,” he’s quoted as saying in the article. And as a promoter of telehealth services to increase and preserve senior independence in their homes, Coffman contends the new policy isn’t putting anybody at risk.

Read more about the new effort at Kansas Health Institute.

Written by Alyssa Gerace