During the past two-day session of the General Assembly, the AARP-supported protections for beneficiaries under Rhode Island’s Global Medicaid Waiver, were adopted. Senate Bill 242 sub A, added System Rebalancing as a goal of the long term care system, which included the addition of statewide community education about the availability of home and community based options.
It requires annual reports to the General Assembly on the progress of rebalancing, including estimates of the continued investments necessary to meet the 50 percent of LTC funds for Home and Community Based Services goal previously established by AARP. The bill further requires long-term care options, counseling to help ensure real choice and authorizes higher resource limits for those who choose to remain at home.
To date, more than 55 older residents have avoided or transitioned from institutional settings back into home and community based care due to the Rhode Island’s new Nursing Home Transition program, initiated under the RI Medicaid Global Waiver authority.
Kathleen Herren, the Executive Director of the Alliance for Better Long Term Care, the state’s Nursing Home Ombudsman and sponsoring organization of the Transitions program, reported to the AARP State Legislative Committee that “every case is a judgment call” and that the program was in demand and well on its way to attaining its first year target of transitioning 80 people back into the community. The current hurdles she cited include ensuring that sufficient quality community resources are available.
AARP-RI has navigated the application, initiation and development of this first of its kind state Medicaid system enacted by the General Assembly with the goal of rebalancing the long term care system from the current 90/10 split to 50/50 by 2014.