In-Home Care Hit Hard In Cash-Strapped States
Medicaid in-home care services are proving an easy place for lawmakers to cut as states face increasingly tight budgets, but the changes are putting some residents with disabilities in a tough spot.
In-home care generally costs less to provide than institutions, nursing homes or group home settings for individuals with disabilities, but the flexibility of the services also mean they are easier and quicker to put on the chopping block. Plus, in-home care is one area that states have some wiggle room as opposed to other Medicaid services like hospital visits and nursing home care that are mandated by federal law.
Already this year, South Carolina, Vermont and California are among the states making drastic cuts to in-home care as Medicaid becomes a bigger part of nearly every state’s budget. And the situation is likely to get worse next year when extra Medicaid funding provided by the federal government through the stimulus program is set to expire.
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The results can be devastating for individuals who rely on assistants to use the bathroom and for other critical needs. Recipients of in-home care across the country are learning that the number of hours each day their personal attendants will be paid are being slashed. In some cases, family members are able to pick up the slack. But long-term, cuts could end up costing states more, experts say, as family members age and are no longer able to take over where in-home supports left off, reports The Wall Street Journal. To read more click here.