Legal Updates

New Aging and Caregiving Laws

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Fact checked by Catherine Gianaro

Nurse Staffing Standards

New patient care standards in Medicare- and Medicaid-rated nursing homes will phase in over the next five years to give facilities time to ramp up staffing. The standards require facilities to provide a minimum of 3.48 hours per day of nursing care to all residents, including approximately 30 minutes per day by a registered nurse. Some 1.2 million residents nationwide will be directly impacted by the new staffing standards, which the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services approved after the agency received more than 46,000 public comments in response to the proposed rule.

Impoverishment Thresholds

For Medicaid recipients living in a nursing home, Illinois has raised its spousal impoverishment thresholds, also known as the Community Spouse Resource Allowance. This means that if the monthly income of the spouse not in the nursing home is less than a certain amount, the spouse in the nursing home is able to transfer their income (such as Social Security and pension) to the spouse. The new rates are: $3,853.50 of monthly income, up from $3,715.50; and $129,084 in resources, up from $120,780.

Alcohol Use Disorder Medication

The Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) has strengthened its partnership with the state to offer free medication to treat alcohol use disorder (AUD). “We are committed to increasing access to medication treatment for AUD, as well as overall awareness of this medical condition and options for treatment,” CDPH Commissioner Olusimbo Ige, MD, said in a press release. Nearly 30 million people over age 12 had alcohol use disorder in 2021, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. However, less than 10% received treatment. For assistance, contact the 24/7 Illinois Helpline at 1-833-234-6343.

Originally published in the Summer/Fall 2024 print issue