The North Carolina legislature is poised to pass a temporary fix to prevent more than 1,300 people in group homes from losing their place to live. The legislation allows them to continue receiving Medicaid services in their group homes until July.
This is probably the last temporary fix for people in group homes with a mental illness, developmental disability or Alzheimer's.
At the start of this year, they could no longer get Medicaid funding for help eating, bathing or receiving other personal care in the homes. That was because of a change in state law that makes it harder to qualify for those services.
Under that law, about 1,300 people currently in group homes are no longer considered disabled enough to keep getting services. But right before it kicked in, former Governor Bev Perdue found additional state funding to maintain those services for another month or so.
Now Co-Chair of the Senate Health Care Committee Louis Pate said people in group homes would keep getting temporary funding until July.
"We allocated something like $39 million that would help residents of these homes to keep them in place until a more permanent arrangement could be found," Sen. Pate said.
None of that money is new – legislators had already set it aside for people who were losing similar services in adult care homes. Those are like group homes but much larger. Under the new legislation, people living in both settings would share that money until July. The House still needs to approve a Senate amendment before it goes to the governor.
As far as a permanent fix goes, Senator Pate said legislators are trying to come up with one and include it in the new budget.