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ALTERNATIVES TO INSTITUTIONAL CARE OFFERED BY MEDICAID SLOWS GROWTH OF NURSING HOME POPULATION, HCFA SAYS

 WASHINGTON, Aug. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- Alternatives to institutional care provided by the Medicaid program are helping to slow the growth in the nation's nursing home population and serve people in their homes, according to Bruce C. Vladeck, administrator of the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA).
 "HCFA is working closely with the states to develop home and community alternatives to institutional care," Vladeck said. "These waiver programs may cover both the elderly and persons with disabilities under 65, ranging from young children at home on respirators to men and women suffering from AIDS."
 On July 1, Alaska became the 49th state to offer services under Medicaid's home and community-based waiver program. Arizona, the only state not using these waivers, operates a similar program through a statewide managed health care plan.
 "Initiated during the early 1980s, the community-based care program has grown to include one of every five Medicaid recipients in long-term care," Vladeck added.
 Medicaid, jointly administered by HCFA and state governments, currently offers alternative services through 184 programs nationwide. Certain Medicaid rules are waived to target services to specific groups of people.
 Each state has flexibility to design programs which best benefit its own citizens. Medicaid recipients receive home and community-based services specifically designed to meet their individual needs.
 In fiscal year 1992, Medicaid served an estimated 400,000 recipients in home and community-based waiver programs, which Congress authorized in 1981. Waiver programs are approved initially for three years, with five-year renewals.
 "These 400,000 are all sufficiently disabled to qualify for nursing home services," Vladeck continued. "These waiver programs have supported thousands of people in homes and community-based settings."
 Medicaid, which currently pays almost half of all U.S. nursing home costs, covering part or all of the costs for roughly two-thirds of the residents, increased nursing home payments from $10 billion in 1980 to $24 billion in 1990. These costs might have been significantly higher if not for the growth of home and community-based waiver programs nationwide, Vladeck said.
 From 1980 to 1990, Medicaid spending for community long-term care, including home and community-based waiver services, rose from $400 million to $3.9 billion.
 The Health Care Financing Administration, an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, administers the Medicare and Medicaid programs, which help pay the bills of 67 million Americans. HCFA's estimated fiscal year 1993 expenditures are almost $230 billion.
 -0- 8/2/93
 /CONTACT: Anne Verano of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 202-690-6145/


CO: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Health Care Financing
 Administration ST: District of Columbia IN: HEA SU:


IH-MH -- DC016 -- 8379 08/02/93 12:45 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Aug 2, 1993
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