Bill seeks to expand Medicaid for senior rural services

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The Assembly Health and Human Services Committee is considering legislation that would attempt to provide Medicaid coverage for senior support services in rural areas.

Assembly Majority Leader Teresa Benitez Thompson, D-Reno, told the panel the plan is designed to make adult day care, assisted living and respite services available in frontier and rural Nevada. She said AB122 requires the state Health and Human Services Department to apply for a Medicaid waiver for services provided in state facilities in those areas. She said it has the potential to increase Medicaid reimbursement for those services.

Assemblywoman Robin Titus, R-Wellington, a rural doctor, said the waiver is needed because Medicare doesn’t typically pay for those services and they’re difficult to get in rural Nevada.

Thompson said the bill is still a work in progress and needs to be fleshed out. She said the waiver in federal law should give the state the flexibility to try some “out of the box things” like combining assistant living, adult day care and respite services under one roof.

The measure received strong support from AARP, the Nevada Assisted Living Association and others. But Marissa Schwartz of the Assisted Living Association questioned why the bill is limited to just state operated facilities. She said the state should be able to contract with private companies.

There was no opposition to AB122 and the committee took no action on it.


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