Critics Say Tough to Keep Fragile Patients Home

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

AUSTIN, Texas -- Disability rights advocates are criticizing how state officials interpret a provision designed to keep medically fragile people from being forced into lower-cost facilities when they would be safer in their own homes.

The critics say state officials have interpreted the law so narrowly that almost no one can qualify.

The Dallas Morning News reports just 5 of the 23 people considered for such funding by the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services have received it. All five sued the agency before being approved.

The state will pay whatever it takes to keep medically fragile children in a family home. But the moment they turn 21, different rules apply.

These people may continue to receive care at home, as long as the cost of in-home treatment is no more than twice what it is in an institution. If state officials determine that the cost of home health care exceeds this cap, the person has three options: move into a nursing home or state school, cut costs at home or use the 2007 provision to make up the difference.

But for a person to qualify for the exemption, health care officials must determine that he or she can't be safely served in an institution.

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