70 cents on the dollar is no bargain for Florida taxpayers

It’s been a tragic waste of money and lives.As the managed care lobby portrayed it, the Nursing Home Diversion program sounded like a great bargain:

Give us Florida’s frail, older people who are candidates for a nursing home. Pay us less than the nursing home rate and we will care for them in assisted living homes, or we will bring in aides, meals and other services so they can stay in their homes.If clients eventually land in the nursing home, we will pay those bills too, which gives us a big incentive to keep people in cheaper settings.The Legislature adores the idea. Over the last six years, managed care’s funding has jumped tenfold.

But saving on nursing home bills misses the point.What the Legislature seems to ignore is the likelihood that less expensive fee-for-service programs can do the job more efficiently.A 2007 study by the University of South Florida found that managed care was costing Medicaid $600 to $900 more per client per month than two comparable fee-for-service programs.

– The Tampa Bay Times

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