HHS Secretary Thompson Asks Governors To Expand Home Care Medicaid Options
HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson on Monday sent a letter to the nation's governors encouraging them to "overcome the institutional bias" of placing Medicaid beneficiaries with disabilities in nursing homes and "assure ... they are served in the most appropriate setting." As part of President Bush's New Freedom Initiative, states should try to treat Medicaid beneficiaries with disabilities in their own homes or in community residential settings rather than institutional facilities, Thompson said. HHS has created a Medicaid waiver template called "Independence Plus" to help states develop home-care programs. In addition, HHS has started a Web site, www.cms.gov/promisingpractices/, which helps states share "promising practices" of innovative community long-term care programs. Thompson noted that some states already have started programs to care for residents with disabilities, including "diversion programs" to keep people in the community, "transition programs" to move people out of institutional settings and programs that "assure stability for beneficiaries living in the community" (HHS release, 8/12).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.