“Mom, sorry, you are going to a nursing home.”
Those are words that no child wants to say to their aging parent. But unfortunately, this is the reality for many older Pennsylvanians.
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 This outdated institutional distinction creates an environment that pushes seniors who could remain in their homes into institutional care.
A bill that would extend these rules to home care agencies is already being considered.
HB 1829 has already unanimously passed in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and is currently stalled in the Senate. This bill would not change Medicaid eligibility requirements. It would merely allow home-care providers to deem seniors eligible for Medicaid after an initial financial review, just like nursing homes have done for decades. This bill would make for good public policy, especially as home-based care is patient-preferred and less costly than nursing home care.
On behalf of all aging Pennsylvanians, I urge our lawmakers to move this bill forward so more seniors can age safely in the comfort of their homes.
BAYADA Home Health Care