Tags:Dozens of adult-care homes in North Carolina — including one in Buncombe and another in Henderson County — could be forced to close and their mentally ill residents released with few options for finding a new home, according to a recent report by The [Raleigh] News&Observer. "As many as 1,200 North Carolina adults who are mentally ill could soon be put out of rest homes and assisted living centers, as federal Medicaid regulators start enforcing a long-standing law that prohibits housing too many such residents alongside elderly people," says the report by Thomas Goldsmith and MIchael Biesecker. Canterbury Hills in Buncombe and Hampton House in Henderson could be affected, says Lee Ann Smith, longterm care regional ombudsman for the Asheville-based Land of Sky Regional Council.
When more than half of the residents of an adult care home have a primary diagnosis of mental illness, it becomes what federal regulators term an "institution of mental disease." By law, patients in such facilities don't qualify for the Medicaid benefits now paying for much of their care.
Lanier Cansler, secretary of the state Department of Health and Human Services, said Thursday that dozens of adult care homes in the state could be forced to close and their residents sent away with few options for a new place to stay.
"There's a lot of fear out there among people in these facilities that ... they are going be dumped out of the street," Cansler said.
Losing the Medicaid contribution to residents' housing would cost about $9 million a year. The state predicts beds won't be available for at least half of those to be discharged.
Though Cansler has described the looming crisis as a "perfect storm," advocates for the mentally ill and operators of adult care homes say they have long warned the state about the issue. ..."
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