Our first Medicaid Mythbuster post addressed the myth that the state of North Carolina will take your home if you apply for long-term care Medicaid in a skilled nursing facility. If you didn’t have a chance to read that article, you can find it here: Medicaid Myth Buster #1
Next in our series, we dispel the myth that only “state-owned” facilities accept long-term care Medicaid. The term “state-owned” facilities conjures images of stark-white walls, locked rooms, and outdated buildings. It is a MYTH that the only facilities that accept Medicaid are “state owned.” In fact, nearly all of our clients receiving Medicaid for long-term care are in a privately-owned facility.
First and foremost, it is important to put one basic truth on the table: we never have clients tell us they want to go to a “nursing home.” It is the hope of nearly every person that they will age “in place,” meaning at home or in an independent living arrangement in the community.
However, despite this desire, 40% of individuals who reach age 65 will require care in a “nursing home,” or skilled nursing facility, at some point in their life.
Part of the fear surrounding skilled nursing facilities is a lack of familiarity. For many members of the aging population, their only experience with long-term care facilities was during the aging process for their own parents. The landscape in this industry has changed drastically over the past several decades and continues to evolve. The number of individuals requiring long-term care is on the rise. As such, the industry has reacted accordingly and is changing how this care is delivered and in what type of setting.
Many skilled nursing facilities are designed and decorated to feel less like a sterile hospital and instead more home-like. Plain white tiles are replaced by wood-look flooring or carpet, community gathering spaces are hosting more events and activities, offerings for outings are diverse, and rooms are more personalized and comfortable. Some facilities are also incorporating popular trends like community gardens.
In Western North Carolina, the vast majority of skilled nursing facilities accept long-term care Medicaid. This area is also fortunate to host to excellent long-term care options. These facilities are also almost entirely owned by private for-profit or not-for-profit organizations—not by the State of North Carolina. In fact, it is much more difficult to find a “state-run” facility for care in the area than it is to find a private facility that accepts long-term care Medicaid.
Although planning to age in-place in the community is an excellent goal and it is our hope that all can age in the manner and on the terms desired, dispelling the myth about state-run facilities vs. facilities that accept Medicaid will hopefully ease the minds of those facing the tremendous cost of skilled nursing care. Consumers have told the long-term care industry what they would like to see, and the industry is evolving in response. The elder law attorneys at McGuire Wood & Bissette can discuss with you Medicaid qualification for those in skilled nursing care or planning for the possibility of future care.
To see more detailed information about local facilities, we suggest reviewing the Long-Term Care Housing Directory created by the Land of Sky Regional Council, which covers Buncombe, Henderson, Madison, and Transylvania counties. You can also contact Andrew Atherton or Kathleen Rodberg of McGuire Wood & Bissette’s elder law team at (828) 254-8800.