New Minnesota Elder Care Rules Concerning Benefits
In a state that seems to be building more and more elder care facilities every year, new elder care rules in Minnesota could result in a rise in the nursing home population. This can increase the number of tired and overworked nursing home workers, thus contribute to an increase in nursing home neglect cases.
Starting this month, thousands of low-income elderly Minnesotans started losing the government benefits that were intended to help them stay out of nursing homes and in their own homes.
In an effort to get runaway Medicaid spending under control, Minnesota is implementing stricter rules that will make it harder for senior citizens to qualify for home care services, which could potentially leave them with no care at all or cause them to go into a nursing home that they may not want to go to.
It is estimated that there are 2,800 low-income seniors who are receiving Medicaid and other state benefits to help them with their basic living. They need help with such tasks as cooking and bathing, but they will now not qualify for help under these new rules.
New Medicaid Payment Elder Care Rules
State officials say that the changes had to be made because they had to preserve the Medicaid program, which is funded by the state and federal governments. State officials also said that the baby boomer population is overwhelming the system. Left unchecked, the Medicaid costs would cause spending to be cut on other public services, such as roads and schools.
The Minnesota Department of Human Services said that the changes will save taxpayers nearly $50 million over a four year period. However, many low-income seniors and their advocates are afraid that limiting access to home care could cost the taxpayers more because of the thousands of seniors that will be pushed out of their homes, which could reverse the gains that Minnesota has seen in the reduction of senior dependence on nursing home care and helping people remain in their neighborhoods. This means that it could become much harder for seniors to live out thir last years in their own homes.
It is estimated that the number affected by the new rooms include 22,600 low-income Minnesotans that are enrolled in the state’s Elderly Waiver program.
The Elderly Waiver program allows seniors to remain in their homes by paying for services, such as supplies and visits by skilled nurses. The average benefit received is around $1,200 per senior.
Until now, it has been somewhat easy for poor Minnesotans to qualify for this program. All they had to do was show that they needed assistance with one of their daily activities, such as dressing or bathing. The new rules say that seniors have to show that they need assistance in at least four daily activities or one critical activity, such as going to the bathroom.
There is one exception, however, and that is that seniors will not lose their waiver if they are able to show that they are at risk of homelessness, have suffered a fall that has resulted in a broken bone within 12 months, or they are at risk for self-neglect.
To help the Minnesotans losing assistance stay in their homes, there is a limited program that the state has created called Essential Community Supports. This program will cover a smaller number of services in the home. The limit is $400 per month.
Report Suspected Violations of Elder Care Rules
For more information from the Minnesota Department of Health, Office of Health Facility Complaints concerning nursing homes, assisted living and other elder care providers view resolved complaints at the MDH website.
If you have concerns about financial exploitation or any other form of elder abuse or neglect contact Minnesota Elder Abuse Attorney Kenneth LaBore toll free at 612-743-9048 or toll free at 1-888-452-6589 or by email at KLaBore@MNnursinghomeneglect.com.