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Alzheimer's patients wait on appeals for personal care services

Posted January 2, 2013
Updated January 3, 2013

— People with dementia or Alzheimer's disease living in special facilities in North Carolina can retain current levels of personal care services in the new year while their custodians appeal decisions to scale back Medicaid support.

A couple thousand residents of special care units at assisted living facilities will retain existing levels of Medicaid-funded care for things like getting dressed or taking baths – for now. But they must appeal by the end of this month for higher existing service levels to remain.

Ron Reed's mother, Delsie Reed, was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2000 and currently lives in a special care unit at an assisted living facility. He said she needs 160 hours a care per week, but Medicaid will only pay for 80 hours.

Reed is waiting to see if his appeal gets approved. If it doesn't, he said he doesn't know how he'll care for his mother.

Delsie Reed Alzheimer's patients wait on appeals for personal care services

"If they should lose an appeal, the provider may have to look to discharge them," said Peggy Smith, spokeswoman for the North Carolina Assisted Living Association. "To discard them at their time of greatest need and vulnerability, we cannot accept as a society."

The new monthly caps on care and rate reductions were scheduled to take effect Jan. 1, but federal regulators agreed to give patients an extra month of Medicaid-funded care. State Health and Human Services Secretary Al Delia said the delay could give lawmakers and Gov.-elect Pat McCrory time to revisit changes that mean less money for facilities providing the services.

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  • Offshore Jan 4, 2:10 p.m.

    doser: "Did anyone do the math on this request."

    Maybe the math on the hours is off, but you have obviously never had to take care of anyone who has been cursed with this illness/disease or you would understand the request. Grand Union stated it was a "treatable disease", show me that evidence. I watched 2 beautiful people who's lives were destroyed by this disease. Nothing prescribed for them had any affect on the process. Read "The 36 Hour Day" for more indepth info on the subject.

  • goldenosprey Jan 4, 1:22 p.m.

    who wants to see an 82 year old thrown into the street?- cheapskate

    I'll give you a hint. First initial is G, last initial is P, middle initial is O...

  • weasel2 Jan 4, 8:21 a.m.

    Its time the US keeps its money(ie.. our tax dollars)at home. The trillions that are being spent on the UN and other countries could be used to built more care facilities. Alot of these people worked their whole lives and now are being kicked to the curb so some foreign country can rebuild their economy.

  • Terkel Jan 3, 7:04 p.m.

    mountainlover, you may have misunderstood my post. I attempted to convey that people who depend on govt money are not free. I'm not saying you personally. Too often people automatically look to the govt, not to themselves, for their needs. The govt goes out of its way to foster dependence.

    You're correct. I have not cared for an Alz/dementia patient. But I have been the sole caretaker of a loved one through his final illness and it wasn't swift or pretty. And I held down a fulltime job as well as a part time one. It haunted me and it changed me. Sorry for what you're going through.

  • mountainlover Jan 3, 1:39 p.m.

    Morrigan: There is one thing that I know for a fact and that is that you have never had to care for someone who has dementia or Alzheimer's for any period of time. If you had, you would not be making comments like you just made. There is no "freedom" when "the government" is paying the tab to take care of someone that you love that is housed in a nursing home..not if you know the meaning of love. And there is definitely no "freedom" when a person who already has a job is called upon to take care of someone with this condition; in all likelihood the caregiver will wear out before the patient does. It is not a question of obtaining greater freedom. It is a question of surviving and maintaing ANY sanity and peace of mind. You are correct in one thing; it takes a very cold person to bring the issue of politics into this discussion period.

  • cheapskate Jan 3, 12:55 p.m.

    spent most of last week visiting an ill relative. her care is over $8000 a month. she does not sleep all night. she wanders. someone has to help her with basics like handwashing - because the soap has to be locked up (another patient likes to drink/eat soap/shampoo). she has no idea if she eats or not. after her late husband's estate is liquidated, she will no longer be able to afford care....and both of her children are disabled themselves. who wants to see an 82 year old thrown into the street?

  • pja1357 Jan 3, 12:15 p.m.

    If you have a parent that is suffer from dementia then you would know how tough it truly is!! It is like dealing with two deaths - one when the disease kicks in and then another when they pass away. It is tough enough to work full time and care for an elderly parent but when you add a parent with dementia you are talking about a TOTALLY DIFFERENT situation. You have some that may wander, some with sun downing, some with no ability to take care of themselves, some that get angry very quickly, etc. Do our research people. This is a horrible disease that robs you of everything including your dignity!! I see it every day.

  • Grand Union Jan 3, 12:03 p.m.

    "This will sound cold, but none of this is the govt's responsibility."

    Why so? How come defending citizens from enemies is Ok but not defending them from starvation, exposure and neglect?
    The odds of the US being invaded are about zero currently and would be about the same even if we spent half what we do now but the odds of populations sufferings are very real.

    " People who think they enjoy greater freedom when they take govt money are finding out they're slaves. "

    What freedom is there in starving? Freezing or dying of a treatable ailment so that the rich can buy dancing horses? The French in the 1890s and the Russians in 1917 found out what happens if you allow that.......

  • Grand Union Jan 3, 11:54 a.m.

    "Maybe if we weren't paying people to have babies they can't afford, and who can't or won't care for them in their old age,"

    Please show that birth rates for the poor are higher now than before welfare.....bet you can't. And children cannot always be around to care for their parents, nor are they always able able to do so even if they are there.

    " there would be more money left for them when they're older. "

    Yes its called Soc sec and medicare......but the gop want to cut those too....

    "But that idea wouldn't create a dependent voter base for Dems, so never mind. See how it all works?"

    Only in a Rush nonsense fueled delusion......

  • Grand Union Jan 3, 11:47 a.m.

    "Did anyone do the math on this request. Claim they need 160 hours of care, 7 days a week at 24 hours a day is 168 hours per week. You can't really believe that there are only 8 hours a week when someone does not need care. The average person sleeps 8 hours a day. Maybe a little abuse of the system in this care request!"

    you need to do some research. People suffering from dementia are not known for sleeping "average" hours......they do need 24/7/365 care. Yes it would be nice if they could be relied on to sleep whilst you sleep but that simply is not the case.

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