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Medicaid Changes Cause Concern for Families | News

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Medicaid Changes Cause Concern for Families
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LAS VEGAS -- Hundreds of Las Vegas families may soon need to find new ways to get their loved ones to adult daycare. Facility operators say proposed changes in Medicaid rules are so restrictive, they may have to close their doors.

Adult daycare centers felt they dodged the bullet after February's special session in Carson City. Now, they say new rules to be enforced Wednesday by the State Medicaid Board will force hundreds of elderly and disabled Las Vegans to drop out of adult daycare, leaving their families with little help.

Eighty-four-year-old Madeline Romyn stays at her daughter Lynda's home. When she's not there, Madeline is at Nevada Adult Day Healthcare Center on So. Jones Rd. It's a haven for Madeline, who suffers from dementia.

"So, mom, how do you feel about your school?" asks Lynda Burns.

"I love my school," said Romyn.

Under the change, if families have at least one registered vehicle per household, they would no longer be eligible for Medicaid subsidized free transportation to adult daycare. That would leave working families with few options.

"They're going to have to quit their jobs to take care of their loved ones," said nurse Christina Vito, Nevada Adult Day Healthcare.

The new Medicaid guidelines would also cut much of the mileage reimbursement for adult daycare centers that pick up their clients. Vito was recently honored by the Small Business Administration as Nevada Businessman of the Year.

"If these policies come through, we are seriously thinking of closing our doors," Vito said. "Medicaid policy changes should focus on the actual cost benefit on what adult daycare services save the state of Nevada."

Jeff Klein at Adult Daycare Center of Las Vegas on No. Jones and Washington Avenue believes centers like his are the last line of defense against an overburdened senior health care system.

"A number of them are going to end up being institutionalized. That's going to cost the state a lot more because we have a shortage of nursing home beds on top of it all," said Klein.

Lynda Burns does her best to prepare her mother for the possibility her home away from home may shut down.

"So, if you didn't have it to go to, how would you feel?" Burns asks her mother.

"Well, I'd feel very sad. I've got tears in my eyes," said Romyn. 

The Medicaid board meets Tuesday morning at 9 a.m. at the Grant Sawyer building.

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