Conn. Medication Proposal Could Cut Nursing Home Census, Save Medicaid Millions

Connecticut’s Governor Dannel Malloy is planning to recommend that unlicensed workers be allowed to give out medication in the state, something they’re not currently allowed to do, in a move that could save the state millions by cutting the nursing home census, reports the CT Mirror.

Allowing home health aides to administer meds could save Connecticut more than $28 million a year and “remove a barrier that keeps people from moving out of nursing homes,” according to the governor’s administration, says the article.

The plan is likely win the backing of advocates of efforts to enable more seniors and people with disabilities to receive care at home, who say that the expenses associated with medication administration have made moving out of nursing homes cost-prohibitive for many people.

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But it’s also likely to draw opposition from nurses and some home health care agencies, which criticized a similar proposal last year, arguing that the expertise of nurses is needed to safely administer medications to vulnerable patients and identify problems that occur.

Last fiscal year, the state spent $128.28 million to have nurses administer medication to about 8,500 Medicaid clients, averaging $54 per visit. One client, the heaviest user, received 2,650 nursing visits, costing the state $156,565.24—not including the cost of the drugs. Another 12 clients also required more than $100,000 apiece in medication administration fees.

Malloy’s proposal would change this by allowing for other methods of administering medication, such as having trained home health aides dispense it according to a nurse’s instruction, or letting clients use “assistive technology” like medication reminders and pill dispensers, the CT Mirror reports.

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The flexibility this recommendation could result in could be huge in spurring the success of the state’s demonstration of the federal “Money Follows the Person” program, which helps people transition out of nursing homes and back into their homes or community.

Read more about the Malloy administration’s plan.

Written by Alyssa Gerace

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