Budget Pressures Spur Several States To Cut In-Home Care Programs
Many cash-strapped states are cutting spending on in-home health care services for disabled residents to close their mounting budget deficits, the Wall Street Journal reports.
South Carolina has imposed some of the biggest cuts, with some residents seeing their in-home services reduced by as much as half (Ansberry, Wall Street Journal, 5/20).
In his latest budget proposal, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) proposed $750 million in cuts to the state's In-Home Supportive Services program, which provides in-home care for disabled and elderlyÂ residents (California Healthline, 5/17).
Reasons Behind In-Home Care Cuts
Although in-home care generally costs less than institutionalization, lawmakers are finding it easier to reduce services than to close long-term care facilities.
Most in-home care programs receive a substantial portion of their funding from Medicaid. Since Medicaid is a joint federal-state program, states must abide by several mandates to receive the federal funds.
Federal Medicaid law requires states to offer hospital care, radiology tests, nursing home care and certain other services.
However, coverage for in-home care programsÂ is optional. Therefore, many states have managed to reduce spending on in-home services without violating funding requirements.
Advocates have warned that cuts to in-homeÂ servicesÂ eventually could lead to higher enrollment in long-term care institutions or large group homes.A shift to institutionalization could create significantly higher costs for public health insurance programs, which are required to cover services at long-term care facilities (Wall Street Journal, 5/20). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.