New Jersey Seeks $280 Million to Boost Home Care, Seniors Tune In

New Jersey’s Global Options program, designed to help seniors age in place, is slated to receive a proposed $280 million in Governor Chris Christie’s 2013 budget. The shift in funding marks a change in the emphasis the state places on home-care versus costly alternatives such as skilled nursing facilities and is a key component of New Jersey’s plan to rebalance long-term care and improve the stat’s Medicare program.

State Health Commissioner Mary O’Dowd and Human Service Commissioner Jennifer Velez spoke via a virtual town hall meeting last week with more than 19,000 New Jersey seniors to talk about the proposed changes and impact on state services, according to the NJ Spotlight.

The NJ Spotlight writes:

New Jersey is moving forward with its push to help seniors remain in their homes and communities and avoid nursing homes for as long as possible.

While the majority of the state’s Medicaid long-term care spending still pays for nursing home care, the shift to home and community-based services is evidenced by the growth of Global Options, a major state program that provides nursing-home eligible Medicaid recipients with home-based support services like visiting nurses and housekeeping aides.

Christie has proposed $280 million for Global Options, compared to the $30 million that the state spent on home and community-based service for the elderly in 2007, O’Dowd told seniors listening in on the teleconference.

Rebalancing long-term care, to emphasize home versus institutional care, is at the center of plans for the state’s four Medicaid managed-care companies to deliver all Medicaid services to long-term care beneficiaries, including the 28,000 Medicaid recipients who now reside in nursing homes.

The shift of the long-term care population to managed care, scheduled for Jan. 1, 2013, is part of the state’s application for federal permission for changes to Medicaid, outlined in a document known as the state’s comprehensive Medicaid waiver. The waiver proposes numerous changes in how the state delivers services to its 1.3 million Medicaid members, ranging from coordinating their physical and mental health services to reducing excessive use of hospital emergency rooms.

New Jersey submitted the comprehensive waiver to the federal government in September, and is still waiting for a decision. The state’s $11 billion a year Medicaid program gets 50 percent of that money from the federal government, and the waiver has to be approved by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), part of the federal Department of Health and Human Services.

Read the original article.

Written by Elizabeth Ecker

Alyssa Gerace

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