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Proposal Would Extend Medicaid Coverage For Alzheimer's And Dementia

A committee in the state House is considering a measure to extend Medicaid coverage for people who have Alzheimer's and dementia. 

New rules from the federal government would limit services from adult-care homes to 80 hours a month, starting July first.  The bill, filed last week by Rep. Nelson Dollar (R-Cary) would raise that cap to 130 hours a month.  Janet Schanzenbach is executive director of the North Carolina Association of Long-Term Care Facilities.  She says Alzheimer's and dementia units require more staff.

"We have to make sure that they stay in the secured units most of the time.  We help them on an ongoing basis with eating, dressing, bathing, toileting and mobility," she says.

"For each individual, it's a little bit different, but their needs increase on a scale as you get farther along in that disease."

It's not clear how the bill might work with Governor Pat McCrory's plan to overhaul North Carolina's Medicaid program.  Both proposals would need approval from the federal government.

Will Michaels is WUNC's General Assignment Reporter and fill-in host for "Morning Edition"
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