In Florida Elder Law, What is the CARES Assessment?

In the field of elder law in Florida, the CARES program is often discussed. The Comprehensive Assessment and Review for Long-Term Care Services (CARES) is Florida's federally mandated pre-admission screening program for nursing home applicants. 

Federal law mandates that the CARES Program perform an assessment or review of each individual who requests Medicaid reimbursement for nursing facility placement, or who seeks to receive home and community-based services through Medicaid waivers.

The CARES assessment is administered by a registered nurse or an approved assessor. A physician or registered nurse then reviews each application to determine the level of care that is most appropriate for the applicant. The assessment identifies long-term care needs, and establishes the appropriate level of care (medical eligibility for nursing facility care), and recommends the least restrictive, most appropriate placement. For example, the assessment may recommend full nursing home care, assisted living care or home-based care. 

The CARES program is overseen by the Florida Department of Elder Affairs. More information can be obtained through their website:

www.elderaffairs.state.fl.us/doea/cares.php

In seeking eligibility under Florida's Long-Term Care Managed Care (LTCMC), entry into which is controlled by the CARES assessment, the advice of an experienced elder law attorney is essential.

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