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New TN Medicaid program pays seniors to stay home

July 30, 2012
by pamela tabar
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Tennessee is betting that creating a new category of Medicaid recipient could save the state millions.

TennCare’s new program, the first of its kind in the country, offers up to $15,000 per year to seniors who need a bit of help with activities of daily living but don’t require the level of care associated with nursing homes.

The expansion has created an in-between category of Medicaid recipient, one who needs a certain level of professional care, but not enough to warrant full long-term care benefits in a nursing home.

The funds can be used to pay for a variety of services, including adult day care, visiting caregivers, meal delivery and other types of assistance.

In the past, seniors could not receive any Medicaid unless they qualified for admission in one of the state’s 330 nursing homes. TennCare is banking on the idea that $15,000 per person is a sound investment when compared to $55,000, the maximum benefit for a nursing home resident.

 “We want nursing homes to target patients who truly need their services,” TennCare Assistant Commissioner Patti Killingsworth told Kaiser Health News.

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