New Jersey Combines Medicaid Waivers For Seniors, Adults With Physical Disabilities
Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) Commissioner Heather Howard announced today the State has received approval from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to consolidate three Medicaid-supported home and community-based service programs currently operated by DHSS into a single program known as Global Options (GO) for Long Term Care.
The consolidation, effective January 1, 2009, improves access to a wider range of in-home long-term supportive services for a greater number of seniors and adults with physical disabilities who meet the income, asset and nursing facility level of care requirements established by Medicaid. GO participants will have the options to hire and direct their own service providers.
The move to GO gives care managers greater flexibility in modifying individual care plans as needs and preferences change over time. It also simplifies administrative processes for federal, state and local officials.
"This approval is good news for New Jersey seniors, adults with disabilities and family caregivers who provide countless hours of care and comfort but sometimes need help to keep their loved ones at home," said Governor Jon S. Corzine. "Through GO, these individuals will have easier access to important home and community-based services."
DHSS has mailed letters to everyone enrolled in the current programs – including Assisted Living/Adult Family Care (AL/AFC), Caregiver Assistance Program (CAP) and Community Care Program for the Elderly and Disabled (CCPED) – explaining that the switch to GO will be automatic and seamless. These individuals do not need to complete new applications and the services they are currently receiving will continue. Nearly 10,200 people are currently receiving services through these programs.
Commissioner Howard called the approval “an important milestone in our drive to rebalance New Jersey’s long-term care system so that low-income seniors, adults with physical disabilities, and their caregivers have more options and more control over the services they need to remain safely in the community.”
“The move to GO is good for consumers and fiscally responsible for the State,” added Human Services Commissioner Velez, whose department oversees the Medicaid Program. “This change will allow more individuals to receive care in the community, an option that is more desirable for the consumer and less costly for the State than institutional care.”
Federal approval of GO furthers efforts initiated by Governor Corzine to make the state’s long-term care system more flexible and consumer-friendly. In 2006, he signed into law the Independence, Dignity and Choice in Long-Term Care Act that required, among other provisions, the rebalancing of Medicaid long-term care funding to improve support for in-home services.
GO is designed to supplement – not replace – the assistance already being provided by family, friends and neighbors. By providing a flexible package of services and supports, the new program strengthens the ability of caregivers to continue in their vital role as primary support providers.
GO participants work with a care manager to create an individualized plan of care based on a comprehensive assessment of the participant’s healthcare needs. Once the plan of care is approved, community-based services are put in place and monitored to ensure quality and effectiveness.