NC continues stopgap funding for group homes
by Anna Oakes
A year after the N.C. General Assembly enacted Medicaid eligibility changes that could significantly decrease funding for group homes, state leaders said they are still working to find a long-term solution.
In August, the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services announced the availability of $4.6 million in bridge funding to support individuals living in North Carolina group homes who are no longer eligible for Medicaid-funded Personal Care Services.
Effective Jan. 1, 2013, the state raised the bar on eligibility for Medicaid-funded personal care services, requiring persons to need limited hands-on assistance with three daily living activities -- including eating, dressing, bathing, toileting and mobility -- or two daily living activities in which one requires extensive assistance.
The new requirements exclude many developmentally disabled adults, including those who live in two group homes operated by Watauga Opportunities.
"One-third of our funding for the group home would disappear," Michael Maybee, director of Watauga Opportunities, told the Watauga Democrat last year.
In December 2012, Gov. Bev Perdue authorized a $1 million allocation to help keep group home residents in their homes.
The funding approved as part of the recent state budget will help group homes until a permanent solution can be found.
"The Department of Health and Human Services will be presenting a long-term plan for individuals residing in group homes to the General Assembly by April 2014," DHHS said in an Aug. 21 statement.