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NACOLG promotes Medicaid Waiver Program

NACOLG can help Franklin County residents who qualify sign up for a Medicaid Waiver Program, and the time to sign up is now.

Lauranne James, lead case manager, said they currently have no clients from Franklin County for this program, which allows “the person to stay out of the nursing home. It allows them to stay in the home and receive essential services and needs,” NACOLG’s Keith Jones explained.

There are two ways people qualify – medical criteria, which matches nursing home admission criteria (someone, for example, with uncontrolled diabetes, COPD and other typical chronic diseases that plague the elderly) and financial criteria, which are based on Social Security income limits. Children can also qualify if, for instance, they were born with cerebral palsy.

“We provide in-home services, homemaker, personal care, unskilled respite and frozen home delivered meals,” James explained. Workers are provided by direct service providers, agencies NACOLG contracts with to go into homes and provide services. “It’s much more cost effective to provide these services in the home rather than placing these people in the nursing home,” she added.

Benefits of remaining at home go beyond the financial numbers. Clients being cared for get to stay in familiar environments, which improves morale, and their caretakers can be confident of the services being provided.

Starting Oct. 1, 2015, NACOLG received authorization to fill 620 slots in the waiver program. Although most of those have been filled, NACOLG can ask for more slots when the program is at capacity, and it also maintains a waiting list.

“The goal is to fill all the slots, and then we will ask for more,” James said. “I know the need is there; I just think it’s a lack of people being informed.”

The program is administered through the Aging Disability Resource Center and Area Agency on Aging. For more information or to begin the application process, call 256-389-0530.

“We just want to make sure the citizens of our region are aware of this very important program,” Jones said.

“It’s better all the way around,” James added.