New Jersey: Governor wants 5,000 out of nursing homes

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Gov. James E. McGreevey has signed an executive order to give seniors in long-term care options other than nursing homes. The state Department of Health and Senior Services now must establish a system under which seniors can more easily obtain Medicaid assistance to finance their care at home or at assisted living centers.

McGreevey said he wants to move at least one-fifth of the 29,000 seniors on Medicaid and in nursing homes back to home-based or assisted-living care, where they could continue to receive state benefits. Officials said 80% of the $1.58 billion in state and federal Medicaid funding now goes to support seniors in nursing homes. The rest goes to 3,000 seniors in assisted living centers or at home.

McGreevey's order also directs state workers to devise a plan that allows more needy seniors to live at home or with friends who will care for them.

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