A new review of state assisted living regulations finds that the economic downturn hasn’t slowed the development of new Medicaid and assisted living policy changes.

The National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL) on Monday released the Assisted Living State Regulatory Review 2010. At least 22 states made statutory, regulatory, or policy changes affecting assisted living communities, residential care communities or assisted living Medicaid coverage in 2009, according to the report. In eight states—Kansas, Maryland, Tennessee, Virginia, Wisconsin, Georgia, New Mexico, and Iowa—NCAL rated the policy changes as “major.” The annual report summarizes state assisted living regulations in 21 categories, such as Alzheimer’s/dementia standards, staff training, resident rights and medication management.

A large number of states altered Medicaid assisted living coverage in 2009 by either cutting rates or changing calculation methods. Only a handful of states, including Oklahoma and Colorado, expanded assisted living coverage through Medicaid. More information about the report is available at www.ahcancal.org.