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Since Governor and Legislators Agree on Value of Homecare, Advocacy Group Says Time is Now to Make it Available to More Pennsylvanians
Date:4/8/2008

HARRISBURG, Pa., April 8, 2008 /PRNewswire/ -- The numbers tell the story, Vicki Hoak, executive director of the Pennsylvania Homecare Association, said quietly to the Senate Aging and Youth Committee today. The Medicaid reimbursement for a year of care in a nursing home is $67,000 per person. For an acute care hospital, the bill could be several times that amount. Reimbursement for homecare is just $21,000.

Since the Governor and legislators agree that homecare is an effective and lower cost alternative to institutional care, Hoak said, the time has come for the Commonwealth to put more funding into homecare to make it available to more citizens.

Part of the Commonwealth's commitment to homecare should come, she said, in the form of increased funding per homecare visit. The state has increased its Medicaid reimbursement for homecare only once in the past 16 years, she said, but that amount ($77 per visit) is about $41 less than the actual average costs incurred per visit by homecare providers.

The state also has been under-spending a special category of funding for homecare known as the "Aging Waiver" by a total of $200 million dollars. As the only Medicaid program that provides in-home care to seniors, this action has cost many Pennsylvanians the convenience and comfort of receiving care in their home, and possibly placed them into a long-term care facility.

Gov. Edward G. Rendell, along with lawmakers have praised homecare as the key to keeping residents of the Commonwealth out of long-term care facilities, that also come with a large price tag to help keep up with overhead costs.

"Next year's proposed budget includes sound initiatives that seek to improve our long-term care system: expanding adult day, studying the rate-setting for the Aging Waiver program and exploring the possibility of adding a personal care benefit to Medicaid and leveling the playing field to allow community spend down," said Vicki Hoak, executive d
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SOURCE The Pennsylvania Homecare Association
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