Ambra Payne
Director of Social Services
Southern Hills Skilled Nursing & Rehab

Waiver Services- Aging in the Community

Medicaid is the major public payer of long-term services and supports for millions of low-income Americans. When Medicaid was first enacted, payment for long-term services was made solely to institutions such as nursing homes. In the following decades, people with disabilities of all ages and their advocates played a significant role in the evolution of the Medicaid program. Medicaid now pays for a comprehensive range of home and community services that provide alternatives to institutional care. The resources needed to live independently are now available to Medicaid recipients through “Medicaid Waivers,” which are also called Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) Waivers or Waiver Funded Services. For those who wish to live at home or in assisted living, sometimes Medicaid will pay for care in those locations if it can be obtained at a lower cost than in a nursing home.

PASSPORT is a waiver program as part of Ohio Medicaid that allows seniors to remain in the community even though they require a nursing facility level of care. PASSPORT is an acronym for Pre-Admission Screening System Providing Options & Resources Today.  This program is under the administration of the Ohio Department of Aging and is managed locally by the Area Agencies on Aging. Ohio saves money by enlisting family members to provide non-medical caregiving services to the elderly. By utilizing family support systems seniors can remain in the community. Friends and certain family members, excluding one’s spouse, can provide non-skilled care services, such as personal care tasks including but not limited to bathing, housekeeping, transportation, meal preparation and transferring. These family members can receive earnings for providing care but unfortunately, payments for caregiving services cannot exceed 60% of the cost of a nursing home. The primary criteria for enrollment in PASSPORT are age, level of care, and income. PASSPORT waiver has both disability requirements and financial restrictions. There is no charge for PASSPORT services if you are under a set income level.  If you are over the income level, you may choose to pay a monthly amount determined at the time of enrollment or decline enrollment. PASSPORT waiver services are provided to approximately 35,000 individuals simultaneously, additional qualified applicant will be placed on a waiting list. Ohio residents should contact their local area agency on aging to apply or call 1-866-243-5678.