More West Virginia seniors eligible for Medicaid home care

CHARLESTON (AP) — More than 100 West Virginia seniors have become eligible to come off a wait list for in-home nursing care through Medicaid due to an increase in state funding.

The Department of Health and Human Resources notified 134 seniors that they are eligible to come off the wait list. If they all meet financial requirements to enroll in the program, 2,293 seniors will remain on the wait list, said Brandy Pierce, deputy commissioner for the Department of Health and Human Resources’ Medicaid Managed Care.

Pierce discussed the state’s Medicaid Aged and Disabled waiver on Monday during a legislative interim committee, The Charleston Gazette reported.

“Opening up 134 slots is a start,” said House Finance Chairman Brent Boggs, D-Braxton, who led an effort to increase state funding for the waiver by $5 million, to $37.06 million.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin reduced the increase through a line-item veto to $1.5 million. The reduction was part of $67 million that Tomblin cut from the state budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

Boggs said legislation passed March 14 during a special session will free up $41 million of state Lottery revenue, potentially reducing the cuts to $26 million.

He hopes an upturn in the economy will provide additional tax revenue so the Legislature can further reduce those spending cuts over the course of the fiscal year.

“I’m hopeful we’ll have an opportunity to reduce some of the cuts made in that line-item veto, at least partially,” he said.

Advocates of expanding the in-home care program say many of the seniors on the wait list enter nursing homes instead, at a much higher cost to the state.


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