Medicaid to Involve more Home Health Care

During the past decade or more, there has been a push by citizens, advocates and, yes, even congress, to allow individuals to have home health care rather than staying in a facility.  As many of us know, a person that can live at home and interact in the community, while being taken care of medically, will most likely live a longer and fuller life.

One state, Connecticut, has moved into the cadre of states who are working to allow individuals to stay at home, get home health care, and live full lives.  Senators there have passed a bill that will move about 5,000 individuals who are elderly or disabled out of care facilities and institutions back to their homes and their communities.

This is vitally important.  Statistics have shown that individuals that have community support and independent living, live longer and are healthier than those who are confined to hospitals, institutions and long-term care facilities.  This does not mean that everyone is capable of living on their own and interacting in the community without assistance.  Some individuals might be better in a variety of care settings.  However, it has long been known that there are many individuals in facilities, hospitals and institutions that should really be able to live in the community.

This is a win-win situation.  Medicaid will save money – it is much less costly to live in a group home or apartment and have a variety of supports defraying the costs, than it is to stay in a hospital, facility or institution where rates range (depending on the area the person lives in) from nearly $200 per day to over $1,000 per day.

I have personally worked in several states with individuals who were involved in independent living programs.  Some lived in group homes and others lived in their own apartment.  Still others were able to live at home with their families.  Many of them had gainful employment, meaning that in many cases, they either needed less benefits and actually paid taxes, helping the economy; or they had small jobs that prepared them to move forward in the community and eventually be self-sufficient.

No matter what the situation, helping individuals that are able to integrate into the community and work toward independence is a huge step forward for the individual, the community they live in, and society in general. 

At this time, it looks as though the trend has caught on and is continuing.  In the long run, it can save Medicaid and communities millions of dollars.  In the short term and the long run, it will heal individuals, families, and the community and make all of these entities stronger and richer for the progressive change.

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