Thursday, May 20, 2010

Facing Hard Health Choices

Clare Ansberry of The Wall Street Journal once again shows how budget cuts are impacting not only people with developmetnal disabilities but their families. These are people's lives we are talking about! Thank you Clare.

FLORENCE, S.C. — Home health care — funded largely by Medicaid — generally costs less money than institutionalizing people with developmental disabilities. But the political reality is that it's easier to cut back home services than to close a 24-hour facility, which can leave people with nowhere to go. Thus, some of the biggest cuts around the country are happening in the basic services that help the disabled cope at home.
But many in-home services, though critical to those receiving them, are optional. Furthermore, there aren't many minimum standards set for in-home services, so it's easier to cut them without violating funding requirements. There are fewer immediate consequences for the state when it cuts those services because families won't generally abandoned disabled relatives and leave states on the hook for housing.
Cutting home care could ultimately prove penny-wise and pound-foolish, however. It could push more people into institutions or large group homes because that is where services are guaranteed, even though institutional care is more expensive.

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