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Posts Tagged ‘Medicaid’

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Photo: Military.com
Finally, assisted living for older veterans. With new models, Medicaid can help older vets postpone the step into a nursing home.

When I was checking out a retirement place recently (for a vague, distant time when my husband and I are not as healthy as we are now), my guide asked me if either of us had been in the military. She said there is now some federal money that an older vet can tap.

We would not be eligible, but the question rang a bell, and I remembered that when I was an editor, I solicited an article about the first New England assisted-living facility for older vets. Prior to Veterans Landing in Connecticut, an elderly veteran who needed only a little support had to go straight into a nursing home even if she or he were largely independent. It was either that or pay out of pocket for assisted living.

Here, in part, is the 2012 Communities & Banking article “Housing for Veterans: A New Model.” It was written by Lisa Conant, of the Hartford-based Community Renewal Team Inc.

“Connecticut’s veterans are rapidly aging. Nearly 75 percent of the 222,632 veterans living in the state are older than 55.1 With each passing year, this population encounters more health issues and more challenges with daily living. Military conflicts of recent decades have left many with grave injuries, extensive medical needs, and behavioral health issues that are sometimes severe. Although these veterans may not need a nursing home right now, many would benefit from an assisted-living arrangement. Unfortunately, such housing is beyond many veterans’ budgets.

“Now a new model of affordable residential care is being pioneered in Connecticut to help low- and moderate-income veterans maintain independence as long as possible — while easing the burden on the veterans health-care system.

“A Hartford-based community-action agency, Community Renewal Team Inc. (CRT), is teaming up with the Veterans Administration to create Veterans Landing, a new assisted-living facility expected to house 103 older veterans and their spouses. Veterans Landing is modeled on an affordable CRT facility called The Retreat-assisted living that includes programs to help residents continue to enjoy life and contribute to their community.

“The Retreat is part of a state-initiated pilot project designed to determine whether assisted-living services could be provided successfully to very low-income, Medicaid-eligible elderly or disabled individuals. The answer is positive.

“Working with the Connecticut Department of Social Services and four other state agencies, CRT developed a funding structure that leverages existing resources to offset construction and operations costs- and residents’ expenses. Most medical fees get paid by Medicaid or Medicare, and rents are offset with subsidized-housing certificates from programs such as the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority’s rental assistance program (RAP).

“It’s a new concept. Normally, assisted-living residences are available only to those who can cover the costs privately. Medicaid pays for nursing homes, but not for assisted living. The average monthly cost for a Connecticut assisted-living facility is around $4,600 and can range up to $8,000 per month-more when extra fees are added. …

“The Retreat pilot shows that when state assistance follows the person to the level of care appropriate for his or her needs, it can pay for other services — not only a skilled-nursing facility but home care or assisted living. Low-income people who would benefit from assisted living are therefore not forced prematurely into nursing homes merely so they can become eligible for the subsidy. Of the 344 seniors living at The Retreat in September 2011, 147 had either moved out of nursing homes or had avoided premature nursing-home placement. Meanwhile, the facility is saving Connecticut millions of dollars every year. …

“Now veterans, who might in the past have received care in a section of a hospital or nursing home, will be able to have a dedicated facility with the same advantages that Retreat residents enjoy. … Veterans Landing will be the first assisted-living residence in New England to focus solely on veterans over 55-and one of the first nationwide. …

” ‘There’s a brotherhood among veterans,’ says Laurie Harkness, who runs the Errera Community Care Center for VA Connecticut Healthcare. ‘When people are part of the military culture — particularly in a combat zone where they depend on one another for their survival — an amazing bond develops.’ ”┬áMore here.

 

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