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Feds OK Ore. home-care aid for seniors, disabled

By KTVZ.COM news sources
Published On: Jul 01 2013 12:52:21 PM CDT
Medicine generic AP

SALEM, Ore. -

The Oregon Department Human Services announced Monday that the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services  has approved the state's request to expand home- and community-based services for seniors and people with physical and developmental disabilities.

Oregon is only the second state in the nation to receive this approval.

The approval of Oregon's Community First Choice Option, or K Plan, coupled with updates to Oregon's existing Medicaid long-term care waivers, will provide the state with the authority to expand person-centered and community-based services for eligible individuals.

The plan also allows Oregon to receive a six percentage point increase in the federal matching rate the state receives from CMS.  In the 2013-2015 biennium, approximately $100 million in additional federal revenue will help support these vulnerable populations.

"Oregon is already a national leader in home and community-based care supports for individuals receiving long term services and supports through Medicaid," said DHS Director Erinn Kelley-Siel.

"More than 80% of seniors and people with physical disabilities in Oregon's LTC Medicaid programs are already served at home or in community-based care settings. In addition, nearly every individual with intellectual/developmental disabilities in Oregon's programs is served outside of an institution."

"The approval of our K Plan means more funding for these important programs, so we can help more seniors age-in-place and provide more opportunities for services in integrated settings for people with physical disabilities," she said. "The K Plan also means that people with intellectual or developmental disabilities can be better supported with individualized services to enhance their quality of life and allow for more fully integrated living and working."

Governor Kitzhaber and the Oregon Legislature supported Oregon's application to pursue the K Plan because it gives the state flexibility to assist beneficiaries and supports person-centered philosophies.

The K Plan will allow Oregon to continue breaking down barriers to keeping people in their own homes. Some of the new services that will be available include helping individuals maintain a safe and clean living environment and expanded use of technology.  

It will also allow Oregon to develop new community-based care capacity that can meet the needs of individuals who have not been able to transition out of nursing facilities.  

"I view the K Plan as a win-win-win situation," Kitzhaber said. "Oregon taxpayers benefit by maximizing federal funding available to support these vulnerable populations.  Oregon consumers benefit from new investments that will allow them to remain independent in their own homes and communities. The federal government will benefit in the long term as Oregon is able to serve more and more individuals in home- and community-based settings instead of through more costly services."  

"This is a big deal for Oregon," said DHS Aging and People with Disabilities Deputy Director Mike McCormick. "The K Plan is critical to helping Oregon modernize our system to meet the needs of individuals, maintain the breadth and quality of our programs and continue to lead the nation in innovation.  The K Plan also goes a long way in ensuring these critical programs are sustainable in the long term."

DHS Developmental Disabilities Director Patrice Botsford said, "The K Plan represents a tremendous opportunity to serve the intellectual/developmental disability community. It will allow us to help people get the services they need without needing to be funneled through a demanding crisis response system.  It will also allow us to provide more supports to children and their families."  

For example, a couple today may face significant stressors in the family in trying to maintain children with developmental disabilities at home. At times, those stressors can escalate into a crisis where mental health, child welfare, law enforcement and other agencies may have to intervene to protect the children and family members.

Under the new K Plan, a family will not need to wait to access crisis services. The state will be able to provide preventive support, such as family training, respite, and in-home support in order to strengthen the family's ability to provide support to their children at home.

"Oregon Senator Ron Wyden played a leading role in Oregon's approval, as did Senator Jeff Merkley and Congressman Earl Blumenauer," Kelley-Siel said. "The support of our federal delegation was very important, and we are fortunate to have such strong, positive relationships in Washington.  I would also like to thank the incredible team at CMS who worked so hard to help get Oregon this approval."

Oregon's 1915(K) state plan amendment and additional information may be accessed at http://www.oregon.gov/dhs/k-plan/Pages/resources.aspx.

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