Assisted living facilities in North Carolina house seniors alongside those with mental illnesses, but federal efforts to separate the two populations are putting many state care homes in danger of losing Medicaid funding, reports the Winston-Salem Journal.
Federal authorities want states to separate the populations whenever possible, and have promised to withhold Medicaid money to make that happen. State officials agree that housing the two groups together is undesirable, but finding a solution has been a headache of long standing.
The legislature’s temporary solution, laid out in budget proposals, is to set aside $10 million to provide homelike community settings for people with mental illness. As much as $39 million would allow assisted-living centers to house both populations without help from Medicaid, which pays about a third of the cost.
Voices representing North Carolina’s more than 1 million older people spoke up on the issues at a Senate budget hearing Tuesday, saying the proposals will shortchange seniors.
The federal Medicaid program won’t reimburse homes for any residents if more than half have mental illness as primary diagnoses. But because there aren’t enough other facilities to take in people with mental illness, the state is stepping in to supplant Medicaid payments with state dollars over the next six months.
Both houses in the state legislature passed budgets proposing $10 million meant for finding transitional homes for people with mental illnesses currently residing in assisted living facilities, the article says.
Read more at the Winston-Salem Journal.
Written by Alyssa Gerace