Nursing a Community

Delivering housing options

This summer, a settlement is set to receive final approval, which would benefit thousands of Medicaid recipients living in nursing homes across the state of Massachusetts.  The original lawsuit was filed in October 2022 on behalf of seven nursing home residents that argued the state was within violation of a 1999 US Supreme Court ruling, which characterizes the failure to provide a means for services to those who wish to live outside of care facilities as discriminatory.  In the settlement, the state of Massachusetts would agree to pay $1 billion over the next eight years toward community support options.

Given the pending approval, thousands of residents who receive Medicaid would also receive state assistance to transition, if desired, out of long-term care facilities, or nursing homes, into residential communities.  The settlement would aid in the state’s availability of low-income housing, ease of access modifications to existing residences, and increased around-the-clock care.  In addition to these benefits, residents who may qualify to transition away from nursing homes and into private dwellings within their community may receive proper education on their alternatives and the resources to ease into the shift.  While 2,400 residents are likely to transition, it is predicted that a majority of the 21,000 state residents on Medicaid could potentially move from institutions.

Despite the positive effects that may derive from this settlement, the longevity of nursing homes and the future need for long-term care options may suffer.  In addition, nursing homes provide residents requiring extended healthcare with the necessities to live in a stable environment.  Not everybody who is eligible to move to a community may select that choice for themselves.  Although there is a fear of a decline in services in the state’s 349 nursing facilities, the president of the Massachusetts Senior Care Association has determined that within the next decade, the need for nursing homes will rise, as the population of state residents that are 85 years old and older are expected to increase by 40 percent.