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State and Legislature Move Forward in Creation of Single Points of Entry for Medicaid Funded Long Term Care

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State and Legislature Move Forward in Creation of S ingle Points of Entry...
Issue 30, Winter 2006

State and Legislature Move Forward in Creation of Single Points of Entry
for Medicaid Funded Long Term Care and in Implementing other Recommendations of the Long Term Care Task Force

by Alison Hirschel, MPLP Elder Law Attorney


Both the Granholm administration and the legislature are moving forward in efforts to create single points of entry (SPES) for Medicaid funded long term care. The Governor’s Task Force on Medicaid Long Term Care recommended last year that the state develop regional single points of entry in three areas of the state by this summer and across the whole state within three years. SPEs are supposed to provide consumers with a wealth of information about long term care options, assess clients for eligibility for all long term care services, and to work with eligible consumers to develop person centered plans for the supports and services they need. Medicaid funded applicants for long term care will be required to use SPEs to gain access to supports and services; other consumers may utilize the services of the SPE.

The Department of Community Health issued a Request for Proposal to agencies seeking to serve as the intial regional SPEs and required applicants to demonstrate how they would collaborate with existing long term care providers and advocates in their region. DCH received responses from each region of the state. A committee of DCH staff, advocates, and others are now reviewing the proposals and will fund three to five of the proposals. The SPEs in these regions are expected to begin providing service later this year. Subsequently, the Department intends to create additional SPEs to cover the rest of the state.

At the same time, Rep. Rick Shaffer has introduced H.B. 5389 to establish single points of entry. The bill, which has an astonishing 41 co-sponsors and strong bipartisan support, tracks for the most part the recommendations of the Governor’s Long Term Care Task Force. A workgroup of stakeholders has been fine tuning the language of the bill. Although many advocates, state officials, and others consider SPEs to be the cornerstone of long term care reform, the Health Care Association of Michigan (a trade organization for the state’s for profit nursing homes), strenuously opposes the bill.

DCH is also now interviewing candidates to head the new Office of Long Term Care Supports and Services. Applicants for the position include state employees, advocates, and providers. DCH has invited both advocates and providers to serve on the selection committee for this important position. In addition, the Governor has names 14 of 17 members of the new Long Term Care Commission, an advisory body that is supposed to oversee the work of the new Office and ensure it continues to move forward in implementing the recommendations of the Governor’s Long Term Care Task Force. The commission has a majority of consumer representatives and is chaired by a Medicaid funded long term care consumer. It is expected to have its first meeting in late March.

Finally, Rep. Vander Veen has introduced H.B. 5762, a 250 page bill entitled “The Long Term Care Continuum Bill” which is designed to bring a variety of long term care provisions into a single law and which would replace the majority of the current Public Health Code provisions relating to long term care. The bill has bipartisan support. Advocates anticipate a number of other bills that track the recommendations of the Long Term Care Task Force are likely to be introduced in the next few months.

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