New York State Cuts Home Health Care; Elders and Disabled Forced into Substandard Nursing Homes By Jack Halpern, CEO, My Elder Advocate On April 1, 2011, the 2011-2012 New York State Budget Bill changed the way payments to providers of Medicaid-funded Certified Home Health Care Agencies (CHHAs) were calculated. As a result of that budgetary change, CHHA payment amounts were reduced significantly. Today, disbursements to elders are based on a ratio of the individual CHHAs average total Medicaid claims per patient in 2009 and the current statewide disbursement average. For CHHAs that provided a great deal of 24-hour care, the budgetary change meant a significant drop in reimbursement and revenue because of the rollback to 2009 reimbursement levels and lower statewide averages. Here’s the net result to elders and their families: Out of fear that they will not be paid what they expect or need, CHHAs are refusing to authorize 24-hour care, reducing the number of 24-hour care cases, and refusing to reinstate services following a hospital stay. They are illegally reducing and terminating care without adequate notice to recipients leaving poor and disabled elders without life-sustaining benefits and often in imminent danger of wallowing away in hospitals or being sent to horrible nursing homes. A Good Idea Gone Bad The State’s intention was and is good. They are seeking to compel all Medicaid recipients into the State’s Managed Long Term Care Program. However, unlike the CHHAs, this program only provided care as was needed and ordered by the physician. While the State might have good intentions, they...