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The Michigan Choice Waiver Program

In previous issues of Elder Law Today, we have written about the Michigan Choice Waiver Program (MI Choice Waiver Program). This program provides home and community based long term care services to persons who are elderly or physically disabled. It is designed to allow persons to receive nursing home type services in their own home, licensed Adult Foster Care (AFC) or Home for the Aged (HFA) rather than having to reside in a nursing home. In a nutshell, the program supports individuals who would otherwise need nursing facility services. A fundamental problem with the program however, was the waiting list that quickly developed due to the number of people trying to qualify. It was not uncommon for someone to wait more than 12 months before being able to participate in the program.

In an effort to address the waiting list problem for nursing home residents, the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH), has created a priority category for nursing home residents who wish to transition back to the community. This category of participants is called “Nursing Facility Transition (NFT) Participants”. Instead of having to wait perhaps 6 to 12 months or longer before being able to participate in the waiver program, now these nursing home residents can receive priority status.

Those nursing residents desiring to transition back to the community must meet three requirements:

1. Financial eligibility;

2. Medical eligibility;

3. Require at least one MI Choice service on a continual basis.

The financial eligibility requirements for the waiver program are the same for nursing home residents. A single person for example can have no more than $2000.00 in countable assets. To be medically eligible, the waiver applicant must meet at least one of the Nursing Facility Level of Care (LOC) criteria which includes seven domains of need including Activities of Daily Living (ADL), Cognitive Performance, Physician Involvement, Treatment and Conditions, etc. Finally, the required MI Choice service could include assistance with personal care (i.e. ADL), private duty nursing, meal preparation, routine household care, etc.

Fortunately, with the creation of the NFT priority category, the MI Choice Waiver Program has become a viable option for nursing home residents. For more information, contact an elder law attorney.

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