Federal And State Governments Present Barriers To Community
Supports, Report Says
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
June 17, 2003
BATON ROUGE, LOUISIANA--Ninety-three percent of Louisiana's budget for long-term care goes to support nursing homes. That's about $600 million per year.
Still, the nursing home industry's chief lobbyist, Joe Donchess, says the state does not provide enough money to keep nursing homes operating.
That's why Donchess is urging Louisiana's lawmakers to resist a court order that requires an increase in state funding for in-home personal care assistants. Providing personal care to all who want it and qualify would cost the state just $38 million.
A Congressional study has found that Louisiana is "sorely lagging" in providing home- and community-based supports for seniors and people with disabilities, The Advocate revealed Tuesday.
The study discovered a number of federal barriers to community services, first and foremost of which is the fact that nursing homes are guaranteed as an entitlement under Medicaid rules.
Louisiana has its own barriers, too. And the nursing home industry -- one of the top contributors to state legislative campaigns -- is the largest of these.
But the system is slowly changing, primarily because of lawsuits and other actions that have been directed at state government.
"Court action and advocacy efforts have influenced a change in pattern of care for these individuals that emphasizes care in smaller, community-based residences that maximizes their independence and integration into the community," the report says.
"Court order may push care-service changes" (The Advocate)