RHODE ISLAND: To Use Medicaid Funds For Assisted Living
Federal officials have granted Rhode Island a waiver allowing the use of Medicaid funds to provide assisted living care, and other states could receive similar waivers if the program goes well. A 50-unit assisted living facility in Middletown called Forest Farms has won funding approval from state officials, but the Providence Journal reports that while any senior can take advantage of the lower-cost facility, only seniors on Medicaid will qualify for the assisted living subsidy. Maureen Maigret, executive director of Rhode Island's Long Term Care Coordinating Council, hopes the program will save Medicaid dollars by helping elderly patients too frail to live alone but too healthy for nursing homes, which can be twice as expensive as assisted living care. The Department of Elderly Affairs, the Department of Human Services and Rhode Island Housing and Mortgage Finance Corporation will administer the program, which aims to provide assisted living care for up to 200 Rhode Island residents. Each participant's $2,100 in monthly payments will be comprised of Medicaid funds, housing subsidies and the resident's personal resources. "This is a major step forward in meeting our goal to expand home and community-based services," said state Sen. Charles Fogarty (D), Lt. Gov.-elect and chair of the Legislature's Long Term Coordinating Council. Maigret added, "We're very excited about this. From the phone calls that our office gets, we know that there's intense interest on the part of the elderly to be able to access these services" (Reuters, 12/13).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.