2005 MASSACHUSETTS BUDGET - IMPACT ON ELDERS

 







The Legislature and the governor have completed the budget for FY  2005.  Some attempts were successful at rectifying decreases and problematic  changes in the current(2004) budget but others were not. This year's  session of the Legislature is over and so there is only a limited  possibility they will return to fix problems created in the 2004  budget.  The following is an overview of what's in the budget and then a list  of  what is left to be addressed(this year or next).
 
  2005 BUDGET
 
Prescription Advantage
There are now sufficient funds to have an open enrollment. Check with  a Council of Aging or SHINE counselor for more information about how to  apply.


  Protective Services
There is a small increase in funding.   The definition of what is covered(and what mandated reporters-  including  all licensed social workers- must now report) has been expanded to  include  "self neglect"(ex.- the failure, inability, or resistance of an  elderly  person to provide for him/herself for their physical and social well  being). Look for regulations from Elder Affairs.
 
  Home And Community Based Waiver
  This changes the income and asset standard(an individual may keep  more)so  that more people would be eligible for Medicaid services in the  community(and perhaps prevent or delay nursing home admission).
 
  Home Care
  Some increase in funding.
 
  Senior Centers/Councils on Aging
  Slight increase in funding.
 
  Nursing Home Bed Hold
  Nursing homes will be reimbursed at ten(10) days for each medical  leave  and ten(10) days total for non-medical leave. The facility must hold  a bed  for any resident on Medicaid who leaves for those reasons.
 
  Estate Recovery
  The 2004 Budget's expanded definitions were totally repealed.  Enforcement  will be based on the laws and regulations in place prior to 2004.
 
  Family Councils
  There is language which strengthens the efforts of families to  organize  and to manage family councils in nursing homes and to do so  independently  of the facility.


 STILL TO  BE ADDRESSED

 
  Prescription Advantage

  An effort to appropriate funds which would reduce the co-payment for  those  below certain income levels failed.
 
  Transfer of Assets
  An effort which could have modified the extended look back periods  and the  new penalty date failed(the waiver process with the Federal  government  continues and we await their decision).
 
  Clinical Admission Standard
  An effort to maintain the previous standard(also know as score 3) for  nursing home admission(and also adult day health and some home care  programs instead of the more stringent standard in the 2004 budget  failed.
 
  Spousal Impoverishment
  There was no success at increasing the amount of funds the community  spouse is allowed to maintain when the other spouse is in a nursing  home  under Medicaid. The asset amount allowed has been drastically reduced  the  last several years.
 
  Personal Needs Allowance
  This is still at the same level it has been for over a decade.

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