Elder Law Group Blog

The Community First Choice Medicaid Program Has Come To Washington State—What You Need To Know, Part I

Jul 10, 2015 | News

The Community First Choice Option (CFC) is a program offering personal care and other services that was authorized by the Affordable Care Act in 2010. The purpose of creating this program was to make it easier for individual states to offer community and home-based care services to those who receive Medicaid benefits.  States were given the option to participate.
On July 1 of this year, Washington State’s Health Care Authority officially approved the implementation of the CFC program for our state to provide benefits for more Medicaid recipients in addition to the Medicaid Personal Care and the COPES programs. The Washington State Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) is in charge of CFC administration. Washington will receive a significant increase in federal funding for CFC expenditures as a result of implementing the plan. Receipt of more federal dollars means less (or nothing!) for you to pay.
Now that CFC has come to Washington, what does it mean for you? In part one of this two-part blog series we will explain exactly what Washington State’s new Community First Choice Program is and describe what kinds of services it offers.
What does it do?
The CFC amendment to Washington’s Medicaid program allows the state to offer more extensive personal care benefits for those in a community setting (as opposed to an institutional setting). The goal is to provide qualifying Medicaid beneficiaries with far more flexibility and control over their care and to allow those who would otherwise need to be institutionalized to afford to live in a home setting. Most people would rather live at home, or at least in a very minimally institutional setting. The CFC program gives Elder Law Group even more latitude to advocate on your behalf to ensure that you get the care you need in the environment you desire.
CFC provides a wealth of home and community services for Medicaid beneficiaries who qualify for the program. When you apply, you will undergo a CARE (Comprehensive Assessment Reporting Evaluation) assessment by DSHS’ Home and Community Services department (HCS) to determine your physical needs and ability to care for yourself. Based on your assessed needs, HCS will choose the services that are right for you. These services are meant to help you with both your activities of daily living (ADLs—like using the toilet or showering), and your instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs—like shopping or managing money). They can range from direct personal care to training for self-care. CFC will also provide assistive technologies to help you maintain your independence. For a full list of the types of services available to you under the CFC program, check out the CFC Q&A document provided at the end of this blog.
Washington’s new CFC program could mean the difference between living the life you want to live at home and having no choice but to utilize institutional care. Elder Law Group understands how important it is to you and your family to both properly and affordably provide for your health and living needs. We can help you decide if the CFC program or some other form of Long-Term Care benefit is right for you and your family. Applying, qualifying and maintaining your eligibility for these benefits can be an arduous and stressful process. We would be pleased to provide you with application assistance, counseling and planning for asset preservation as well as advocacy for the Medicaid benefits you need!
Please do not hesitate to contact Elder Law Group with any questions at (509) 468-0551. Feel free to follow the link below to check out a detailed CFC Q&A document to learn more about the program. And remember to check out Part 2 of this blog series where we will explain more about who exactly is eligible for CFC and what costs you can expect depending on your situation. Coming soon!

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