For some, the idea of a parent reaching an age when he or she suddenly needs extra care and support at home is not a pleasant one. That’s because, the way certain states have set up and established their social services, one of the first options is to place them in a nursing home, even though home care may be more comfortable, preferred, and affordable. In Pennsylvania, legislation that would simplify the approval process through Medicaid-funded support for home care passed the House, but has since stalled in the Senate.
The bill would essentially shorten the approval process for in home care services paid for by the state’s Medicaid program. That would bring it in better alignment with nursing home care services.
Currently, if an aging senior requires direct medical care and attention and is waiting on approval through Medicaid, since it can take so much longer to be approved for home care, their only viable option may be a nursing home.
In an Op-ed piece by Bayada Home Health Care Director David Ridner, titled, Your view: Make home health care more accessible for seniors, published by Times Leader, Mr. Ridner noted:
“Our state has the dubious honor of having the longest Medicaid eligibility process in the country for home-based care. It can take six to nine months for an individual to be found eligible for Medicaid-funded, home-based care. For many vulnerable seniors without the financial means to pay for in-home care independently, this is far too long to go without services.
Conversely, seniors can be presumed financially eligible for nursing home services and begin care that same day while their full eligibility is reviewed. This outdated institutional distinction creates an environment that pushes seniors who could remain in their homes into institutional care.”
It is a frustrating factor for many seniors and their families when they face these kinds of struggles. More seniors prefer to remain at home where they’re most comfortable, and it’s far more affordable than nursing home care. Yet, for those men and women who can’t wait and need help as soon as possible, they have little choice aside from an institution.
There’s no public word yet on why the bill has stalled in the house or what may be preventing a reasonable resolution to this issue, but seniors and disabled adults -along with their families- across Pennsylvania are hoping that soon the approval process for Medicaid-funded in home care support services will fall in line with that of nursing home care.