by Mark Williams
Sen. John A. Carey Jr. (R-Wellston) recently unveiled legislation which has passed the Ohio Senate and is now being considered in the Ohio House of Representatives. This legislation is aimed at providing greater long-term care options for Ohio's senior citizens. His proposal has been deemed a top priority for the Ohio Senate.
The legislation Carey introduced will strengthen two important programs established under this reform package. Both were designed to save Medicaid dollars by providing seniors and the disabled in nursing home facilities more access to independent, less restrictive care options like assisted living and PASSPORT, Ohio's home care program for seniors.
With rising health care costs threatening the stability of Ohio's budget, we need this common sense approach that Carey brings to the table. Carey won support for an amendment two years ago to create Ohio's “Home First” Initiative, a pilot program which allows individuals in a nursing facility, who are currently on a waiting list for PASSPORT, assistance to enroll in the PASSPORT program and return to their homes. To ensure that “Home First” remains intact and is able to expand, Carey wants to make the program a permanent part of Ohio law.
The second component of Carey's bill would expand the eligibility of individuals for the new Assisted Living Medicaid Waiver program. Carey's legislation would expand the eligibility pool to include individuals who have been living for at least six months in an assisted living facility, have exhausted their private funds and now are Medicaid-eligible and in need of long-term care services. Carey's proposal would ensure that individuals in this situation, who have demonstrated they can live independently, would not be forced to enter a nursing home.
Please join the Area Aging on Aging District 7 Inc. in support of SB5 and in appreciation of John Carey's continued support of our older adults.
Pamela K. Matura
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