The Growth in Government Nursing Home Diversion Programs

As the senior population grows, the need for long-term care and senior living solutions continues to be a top concern. A growing number of states are looking for ways to reduce costs and improve seniors’ quality of life with programs that get seniors back into their own homes.The Growth in Government Nursing Home Diversion Programs

Read more about the recent growth in government nursing home diversion programs.

States Offer Nursing Home Diversion Programs to Seniors

Many states now offer managed care programs committed to helping seniors either avoid a nursing home stay altogether or safely transition from the nursing home back into a home environment while still receiving the care they need.

The programs tend to have different names – Connecticut’s “Home Care for Elders,” Minnesota’s “Return to the Community” and Tennessee’s “CHOICES” program to name a few – but they all aim for the same goal of reducing the number of seniors that feel stuck in nursing homes. Many of the programs are directly linked to Medicaid and are therefore only eligible to those who qualify, but some states have expanded the services beyond seniors with Medicaid.

In many of these programs, seniors are assigned a representative (usually a nurse or social worker) who takes charge of organizing their care. They make sure that the senior receives the services they otherwise would have received in the nursing home in their own home, through home health care aids, nurses that show up to check on their well being and physical therapists, etc.

As more and more programs show success at both cutting costs and improving outcomes, the push to take them nationwide has gained momentum.

In 2006, the federal government started the “Money Follows the Person” program which has provided grants to over 40 states that have enabled them to transition over 75,000 people from nursing homes back into their communities.

Ways to Take Advantage of Nursing Home Diversion Programs

This option isn’t available to everyone but the reach of nursing home diversion programs is growing.

If you think your loved one would benefit from this program, the first step is learning if a program exists in your state. This can be tricky since programs use different terminology in different places.

Some terms to look for in your search are:

  • Community choice
  • Elderly waiver program
  • Home and community-based services
  • Home care for elders
  • Home care program
  • Return to the community program

If your loved one qualifies for Medicaid, then Money Follows the Program may be a good place to start your search. The participating states are:

  1. Alabama
  2. Arkansas
  3. California
  4. Colorado
  5. Connecticut
  6. Delaware
  7. Georgia
  8. Hawaii
  9. Iowa
  10. Idaho
  11. Illinois
  12. Indiana
  13. Kansas
  14. Kentucky
  15. Louisiana
  16. Massachusetts
  17. Maryland
  18. Maine
  19. Michigan
  20. Minnesota
  21. Missouri
  22. Mississippi
  23. Montana
  24. North Carolina
  25. North Dakota
  26. Nebraska
  27. New Hampshire
  28. New Jersey
  29. Nevada
  30. New York
  31. Ohio
  32. Oklahoma
  33. Pennsylvania
  34. Rhode Island
  35. South Carolina
  36. South Dakota
  37. Tennessee
  38. Texas
  39. Virginia
  40. Vermont
  41. Washington
  42. Wisconsin
  43. West Virginia
  44. District of Columbia

Once you’ve identified a program in your state, reach out to the agency running it to find details on how to apply.

In some cases, nursing homes may be required, but the most important thing for you to do is find the right care for your loved one, whether that’s in a nursing home or nursing home diversion program.

Have you, a parent or senior loved one used a nursing home diversion program? We’d like to hear more about your experiences in the comments below.

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