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You probably saw the story in the New York Times ("In a First, Medicare Coverage Is Authorized for Alzheimer's", Robert Pear, 3/31/02) about Medicare covering Alzheimers patients when they need psychotherapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy and home health care. To see the article, the following link allows you to get the article by registering for free access to the NY Times:

Click HERE!

This sounds wonderful, but you need to understand that the home health care industry went under a strict budgeting process on October 1, 2000 called the Prospective Payment System. The PPS means that home health agencies have to keep their expenditures within strict budgeted guidelines that boils down to a few weeks of visits at best, and these visits are only 1-2 hours. Do NOT expect unlimited home health care visits paid by Medicare for Alzheimer's patients. Even though the benefit may be approved, the Alzheimer's patients must fit with the total budgeted amount Medicare is paying home health agencies for all patients. That amount was calculated without Alzheimer's patients for this year and no new money was allocated to allow for this new benefit. So the common sense is that it will be very difficult for the home health agencies to absorb the new patient load this year at all with no new funding.

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