Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf Wants 5,500 More Seniors to Get Home Care, Avoid Nursing Homes

Pennsylvania Governor Wolf said Friday that he wants to help 5,500 more Pennsylvania seniors get caregiving services in their own homes rather than in nursing homes, and promised to make the approval process for home health care much faster. Wolf said his plan, a mixture of budget, legislative, and executive actions, would offer more choices and “protect our seniors to make sure they go through their senior years with dignity.” The proposals are to be included in the budget he will release Tuesday. Fifteen percent of Pennsylvania residents are 65 or older, the fourth-highest proportion in the nation. That could rise to 20 percent or higher in the next 15 to 30 years. Wolf said the approach would save money. For every month a person on Medicaid receives care in his or her home or community instead of in a nursing home, the state saves $2,457, Wolf said. He said his changes would translate into savings of $162.2 million in nursing home costs. According to a Pennsylvania Department of Health website, the daily Medicaid reimbursement at the Philadelphia Nursing Home is $230 a day, or $83,950 a year. For home care, the daily Medicaid reimbursement in Philadelphia is $76, or $27,740 a year, according to Holly Lange, head of the Philadelphia Corp. for Aging. Her agency oversees home care for 20,000 frail elderly people in Philadelphia.

Source/more: Philadelphia Inquirer

David Wingate is an elder law attorney. He practices in Frederick and Montgomery Counties, Maryland. The elder law practice comprises of wills, powers of attorneys, trusts, asset protection and Medicaid.

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