Friday, August 16, 2013

Agreement will move at least 600 from personal-care homes to community mental health facilities

At least 600 people now in personal-care homes will be moved to community-based settings under "an agreement that advocates say will systematically change the way community mental health services are delivered in Kentucky, improving the lives of hundreds of people with mental illnesses and disabilities," Beth Musgrave reports for the Lexington Herald-Leader.

Stories by the Herald-Leader and investigations by Protection and Advocacy, a state agency for the disabled and mentally ill, "found that personal care homes often are an ill-equipped last resort for people with complex problems such as substance abuse, mental illness or a mental disability," Musgrave writes. "Past problems at personal care homes have included criminal arrests of operators for stealing money from residents, lack of food, poor medical care and deaths" when residents walked away from homes in Letcher and Pendleton counties.

The state Cabinet for Health and Family Services estimates that the changes will cost $19 million over the next three years, and it said the money would come from the budget for housing people in mental hospitals. "Under the agreement, people can use their state supplement of $520 a month for services that will keep them out of a personal care home. Under the current system, a person can receive the supplement only if they live in a personal care home," Musgrave writes. "That change will affect anyone who is eligible for personal care home services, not just the 600 people who will get additional services under the agreement." The cabinet will have until October 2014 to move the first 100 personal-care-home residents. (Read more)

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