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Governor gets 'Thumbs Up' on Budget Plans for Long Term Care

December 4, 2008

Bismarck, ND - The vast majority of North Dakotans prefer to remain and receive care in their homes, according to a recent AARP survey, but currently North Dakota funnels 95 percent of its Medicaid long-term care dollars to pay for care in nursing homes. Governor Hoeven told lawmakers during his budget address he plans to change that by expanding home and community-based care. His proposal includes an increase of more than $17 million dollars for home- and community-based care programs.

AARP North Dakota state director Janis Cheney believes it will help North Dakota's elderly and people with disabilities maintain their independence.

"We think that the proposed funding for an Aging and Disabilities Resource Center will go a long way toward helping move that process forward. We also were very gratified by his support for expanding the children's health insurance program in North Dakota."

Cheney says for more than 20 years, efforts have been made to address the imbalance in long-term care spending in North Dakota.

"While there have been efforts in the past to enhance home and community-based services, and while the state of North Dakota has done some innovative things, the funding the governor has in this year's budget is really key."

She says the state's long-term health care system is difficult to navigate, so an Aging and Disabilities Resource Center would serve as a central place to connect individuals and families with options for long-term support and care services.

Some lawmakers of both parties have expressed concern about the sustainability of extra spending, since oil revenue is falling.

Dick Layman, Public News Service - ND