HHS approved the first Medicaid waiver for long-term-care services, allowing Vermont's Medicaid program to expand its long-term-care coverage to home health and other services besides nursing-home care.
Officials at the state Department of Aging and Independent Living, which applied for the waiver, hope to have the five-year demonstration project under way by Sept. 1. The pilot will involve 4,500 Medicaid beneficiaries who are 65 or older or have physical disabilities. It is intended to be budget-neutral.
The Vermont American Health Care Association, which represents nursing homes, said it was concerned about the quality of care in home health programs and feared that some nursing homes would close as a result of losing patients, reducing access to nursing-home care.
Vermont's Medicaid program spends $145 million on long-term care annually.