Pennsylvania House Approves Bill to Help Seniors Stay in Their Homes

Pennsylvania House Approves Bill to Help Seniors Stay in Their Homes
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    A bill that would make it easier for Pennsylvania seniors to stay in their homes while receiving care unanimously passed the state House in early December.

    Known as House Bill 1829, it aims to amend the act of June 13, 1967, known as the Human Services Code.

    In a Co-Sponsorship Memoranda sent to House members last August, the bill’s sponsor, state Rep. Aaron Bernstine, R-10, highlighted what he said was an imparity in the state law that limits access to in-home care and sometimes forces Pennsylvania’s seniors into nursing homes.

    Bernstin’s memoranda explained that when someone applies for Medicaid, they are “presumed eligible” for nursing home services and receive those services immediately while their application is being fully reviewed and processed. However, Medicaid applicants who wish to receive in-home care must wait until their application is approved, which could take several months.

    House Bill 1829, which moved to the Senate for consideration, would extend the “presumptive eligibility” tag to Pennsylvanians who meet the qualifications for Medicaid and wish to remain in their home instead of in a more “costly and restrictive setting.” It would also extend to those seeking home health services or adult daily living center services.

    By correcting this disparity, we can help seniors applying for Medicaid receives the care they qualify for, in the setting of their choice and save taxpayers money,” Bernstine said in a press release.

    Citing statistics from the Pennsylvania Homecare Association, Bernstine also pointed out the state saves an estimated $34,000 per year for every person receiving in-home care as opposed to long-term care at a facility. He noted costs in a nursing facility reach approximately $65,148 per year.

    Home care has been shown to promote more rapid recovery, greater mobility and an overall better quality of life. Not only does it benefit the person receiving care, but it saves tax dollars too,” Bernstine added in the release.

    Bernstein serves parts of Beaver, Butler, and Lawrence counties. He is part of the committee for Aging & Older Adult Services.

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