House passes stop-gap funding for group home residents

Senate approval needed for temporary group home payments

cjarvis@newsobserver.comJanuary 31, 2013 

— The state House of Representatives voted unanimously on Thursday to provide temporary funding that would allow mentally disabled people to live in group homes.

The funding was needed after the legislature, under federal pressure, rewrote rules for how Medicaid recipients qualify for personal care services. That unintentionally excluded some residents from receiving Medicaid reimbursement.

The bill, HB5, now heads to the Senate, where some members have said they don’t see the urgency in passing the legislation.

House Speaker Thom Tillis said after the session that the people who need those services, including Alzheimer’s patients, would like to see the issue resolved as soon as possible.

“This provides some certainty now,” Tillis said. “We still have long-term work to do to address the long-term solution to Alzheimer’s care and a number of other things. We wanted to move it on and, hopefully, the Senate will take it up quickly.”

The bill would pay up to $694 a month for up to three months to group homes with those residents. After that, the payments would be reduced to a maximum of $520.50 a month.

The payments will come from a $39.7 million fund set up to help adult care homes whose residents were losing Medicaid coverage for such services as bathing, eating, dressing and taking medicine. The payments will run from Friday to June 30.

Under federal pressure, the legislature last session rewrote the rules for how Medicaid recipients qualify for personal care services. That made it harder for people living in adult care homes and group homes to meet eligibility requirements.

Staff writer John Frank contributed

Jarvis: 919-829-4576

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