New York Medicaid Funds Sought to Position for Affordable Care Act Benefits

Its remains unclear exactly how full implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will affect local residents enrolled in the Medicaid program. However, many suggest that various opportunities presented by the landmark legislation may allow participants more chances to tailor their caregiving options with more flexible at-home support. The New York Medicaid lawyers at our firm who work with those seeking to enroll in the program are aware of the need to allow participants as much freedom as feasible so that their health problems affect their day-to-day living as little as possible.

Encouragingly, New York is on the forefront of taking advantage of the opportunities offered by the Act. For example, Crain’s New York reported this week on a move by state officials to receive $10 billion from the federal government in expected savings from the Medicaid reform effort. Officials want to use the resources to fund hospitals and other statewide healthcare initiatives.

Some of the funds would be used to help community members with disability-related health problems. For example, the story noted that $525 million of the request is earmarked for expansion of “Health Homes.” Health Homes is an initiative included in the Affordable Care Act which seek to better manage chronic diseases. The goal of the program is to provide better overall care management to prevent hospital visits. Improved use of information technology is a key part of the effort.

Another $375 million would award grants to all those working on alternative care models which may yield healthy dividends for those hoping to break away from traditional long-term care models. New York elder law attorneys are familiar with the struggles faced by many families who know that a loved one needs long-term care but who worry about the overall quality of life for the relative once they enter a traditional skilled nursing facility. At-home care is always preferable.

Other funds would be used in a wide range of ways. For example, $1.25 billion is set to help in primary care programs, electronic health records, and capital investments. Public hospitals would be a big winner, as billions would likely go to various medical and facility initiatives, including $1.5 billion to test new projects promoting care management.

It remains unclear if the funds will actually be dispersed. The request is referred to as a Section 1115 Waiver and would essentially be a forwarded of resources expected from New York Medicaid reform. The proposal initiated by Governor Cuomo’s office has wide support from all those working on patient safety and caregiving efforts.

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