Weinberg’s ‘Independence, Choice And Dignity In Long-Term Care Act’ Is Now Law

TRENTON – A measure sponsored by Senator Loretta Weinberg that will help give elderly and disabled New Jerseyans receiving Medicaid assistance the option of receiving government aid for long-term health care while living in the comfort of their own homes was signed into law today by Governor Corzine during an AARP Long-Term Care summit held at the Trenton Marriott. Senator Weinberg was on hand to answer questions on the bill.

“This is a proud day for elderly and disabled Medicaid recipients statewide,” said Senator Weinberg, D-Bergen. “This legislation is long overdue. The State does not have the right to tell Medicaid recipients that they can no longer live in their homes simply because they are in need of medical assistance. This law will make it possible for these New Jerseyans to remain in their own homes and receive the medical care they need.”

Senator Weinberg’s bill, S-1642, known as the “Independence, Choice and Dignity in Long-Term Care Act,” establishes pilot programs in Atlantic and Warren counties to allocate Medicaid funding for home and community health care programs, beginning in January of 2007. The funding models of the pilot programs will be assessed to evaluate their feasibility on a Statewide level. After one year, the pilot programs will be expanded to include all 21 counties.

The program will be monitored by a 13-member Medicaid Long-Term Care Funding Advisory Council, and in order to expand Statewide, the program will need approval from the Commissioner of Health and Senior Services.

The Advisory Council will include members of the AARP, the Association of Area Agencies on Aging, a county Office for the Disabled, the Health Care Association of New Jersey, the New Jersey Hospital Association, the Rutgers Center for State Health Policy, the New Jersey Elder Rights Coalition, a labor union representing home and community-based health care workers and owners of agencies providing home and community-based health care services.

“This bill was developed over the course of a year with the cooperation of the Departments of Human Services and Health and Senior Services, and many other groups like the AARP , the New Jersey Elder Rights Coalition, and a variety of other groups representing the health care community and its workers. I’d like to thank them for all of their hard work and effort,” said Senator Weinberg.

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