Benson proposes sweeping Medicaid reforms

The Benson administration has proposed slashing New Hampshire’s nursing home population by 30 percent in the next five years with an eye toward saving $337 million that it says would go toward developing adult day-care centers and hospices.

The proposals to the state Medicaid program also set up private health accounts for pregnant women and families with children and give the state more control over how disabled people get medical care.

The proposal was outlined in a report sent last month to Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson and has not been made public yet. The Concord Monitor obtained a copy of Benson’s report.

The proposal’s goal is to move people out of nursing homes and into home and community-based care centers. Right now, any elderly person who is deemed sick enough or poor enough is admitted to a state nursing home. Under the changes proposed by Benson and Health and Human Services Commissioner John Stephen, those eligibility requirements would be tougher, though no details are provided.

Stephen told the Monitor that the proposed was not yet final, and that he would let state lawmakers know his plans before he made any changes.

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