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:
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
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
this year at all with no new funding.
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