CHA Supports New Bill That Would Double Personal Needs Allowance for Nursing Home Residents

CHA Supports New Bill That Would Double Personal Needs Allowance for Nursing Home Residents

California Health Advocates submitted this letter in support of H.R. 3853 (Wexton) which would double the personal needs allowance (PNA) for Medi-Cal beneficiaries living in a nursing facility and allow them to better meet their basic personal care needs. This is long overdue, as the minimum federal PNA has stayed the same since 1988 ($30 for an individual and $60 for a couple).


 

August 2, 2019

 

The Honorable Jennifer Wexton
1217 Longworth House Office Building
Washington DC 20515

 

Re: Support for the Personal Needs Allowance Modernization Act (H.R. 3853 – Wexton)

 

Dear Representative Wexton,

 

California Health Advocates supports H.R. 3853 (Wexton) which would double the personal needs allowance (PNA) for Medi-Cal beneficiaries living in a nursing facility and allow them to better meet their basic personal care needs. This is long overdue, as the minimum federal PNA has stayed the same since 1988 ($30 for an individual and $60 for a couple).

 

California Health Advocates (CHA), a non-profit organization founded in 1997, is the leading Medicare Advocacy and educational voice for more than 5.6 million Medicare beneficiaries in California. Our members, county Health Insurance and Advocacy Programs (HICAPs) come across many beneficiaries struggling to meet their basic needs with the current PNA.

 

When in a nursing home, Medi-Cal beneficiaries are only allowed to keep the allotted PNA to cover their personal expenses; all the rest of their income goes to cover their nursing home costs. Therefore, with no increase in the PNA amount for over 30 years, the purchasing power has gone down over 50%. This deprives nursing home residents of their ability to cover their basic needs, such as toothpaste, toiletries, a haircut, a magazine subscription, etc, and forces them to rely on the good will of family and friends.

 

The PNA Modernation Act would raise the federal PNA level to $60 for an individual and $120 for a couple, and it would be indexed for inflation to preserve purchasing power in the future. This bill would provide a much needed increase and would move towards supporting these residents to age with autonomy and dignity.

 

For these reasons California Health Advocates supports H.R. 3853.

 

Sincerely,

 

Tatiana Fassieux
Consultant & Training Specialist

Our blogger Karen J. Fletcher is CHA's publications consultant. She provides technical expertise, writing and research on Medicare, health disparities and other health care issues. With a Masters in Public Health from UC Berkeley, she serves in health advocacy as a trainer and consultant. See her current articles.