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Judge Halts Change to Medicaid

Good news for disabled and elderly people who require personal care services:  A federal judge has stopped North Carolina from ending services for some Medicaid recipients who receive in-home care.

According to an article in the News & Observer, the state Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) had recently increased eligibility requirement for personal care services so that recipients would need to demonstrate that they need help with three, instead of two, activities of daily living, such as eating, bathing, or dressing. The requirement was challenged because it only pertained to recipients who receive in-home care; recipients who live in nursing homes still need to demonstrate needing help with only two activities of daily living.

“This is good news,” said Vicki Smith, executive director of Disability Rights North Carolina, one of the groups representing in-home care recipients. “This is a minimum level of service that will make a concrete difference for these individuals and their families.”

The DHHS says that this requirement is part of its efforts to reduce Medicaid fraud and misuse. Still, it seems that it might be easier and more humane to check into individual suspicions of fraud than to eliminate services for thousands of elderly and disabled people. And according to Ms. Smith:

…offering personal care will save money over time. It’s less expensive for the government to pay for personal care for people living in their own homes than it is for 24-hour supervision in adult care homes, she said.

To read the full article in the News & Observer, click here: http://www.newsobserver.com/2011/12/09/1699117/judge-halts-change-to-medicaid.html#ixzz1gLRMvHX5

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