Long-term care system passed by state house

Long-term care system passed by state house
AARP cheered last week’s passage of historic legislation to restructure Tennessee’s long-term care system and provide more choices for care. The legislation, titled the Long-Term Care Community Choices Act, was approved unanimously by the state House of Representatives, as it wrapped up its business. “There is no place like home, and Tennesseans will now know that our long-term care system will allow them to age in place with home and community-based services,” said AARP State Director Rebecca Kelly. Currently, Tennessee ranks at the bottom in funding for alternatives to nursing homes. “AARP has worked for years to increase choices for care in Tennessee. The overwhelming support for this legislation shows that lawmakers have heard us and understand this is an important issue to Tennesseans and their families,” Kelly said. The legislation will place the long-term care system under a managed care organization beginning July 1, 2009. TennCare will seek waiver approval from the federal government and develop implementation and contractual language over the next year. Kelly thanked the Long-Term Care Study Committee and House sponsor Rep. Dennis Ferguson for championing the effort to expand home and community-based services for the elderly and disabled. The study committee conducted extensive hearings last year and this year on the provision of long-term care. In addition to sponsoring the bill, Rep. Ferguson made it possible to add $4 million to the state Options program that provides home-delivered meals, transportation and other services for seniors who are not eligible for TennCare. Those funds will become available beginning July 1, 2008. AARP also appreciates Gov. Phil Bredesen’s efforts to fulfill his commitment to broaden the choices available to Tennesseans. “The Long-Term Care Community Choices Act will fundamentally restructure a system badly in need of an overhaul,” Kelly said.

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