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MO Advocates Win Battle on Restrictive Home Health Standards

May 5, 2011

KANSAS CITY, No. - A change in state policy on home health care is getting some good reviews from advocates for seniors and people with disabilities.

The federal government had sanctioned the state of Missouri for what's called overly restrictive home health standards for Medicaid recipients. Federal Medicaid law has never required "homebound" status for recipients of home health services, but many Missourians were disqualified on those grounds.

Now, however, the state has come into compliance. That's good news, says Norma Collins, AARP of Missouri advocacy director. Missouri can no longer claim that Medicaid recipients have to be confined to the home to receive homebound services, she says.

"There is support for them, or there is help for them, if they inquire about how they can get homebound services."

Budget constraints may have been the state's reason for denying home health services, Collins says - but she adds that those services save the state money in the long run.

"Those dollars could go much farther if you're able to provide services in the home as opposed to institutional care."

The federal government's Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services had issued the sanction. Collins says various advocacy organizations, including AARP, were involved in urging Missouri to change its policy.

Heather Claybrook, Public News Service - MO