The Arizona Long Term Care System (ALTCS) is Arizona’s version of the federal Medicaid program for long-term care. Establishing eligibility for benefits is a complicated process and can be very time-consuming. A basic understanding of eligibility rules and the types of care available through ALTCS is essential for anyone working with elderly clients.

The Health Education Network, a private educational provider, has scheduled a full-day seminar on “Legal and Financial Issues of Caring for the Elderly” in Tucson and Phoenix next. Among the topics to be covered at the seminars is a detailed analysis of ALTCS eligibility and administration. Highlights:

Types of Care Covered

Most ALTCS-funded care takes place in skilled nursing facilities (nursing homes). A small portion of the ALTCS budget is earmarked for Home and Community Based Services (HCBS), which are usually provided in the patient’s home. Another portion of ALTCS funding goes to Adult Foster Care Homes, but funding is limited.


The most difficult eligibility standards to meet are usually financial, but several other requirements must be met before eligibility for ALTCS is determined. The applicant must be a citizen and an Arizona resident.

More importantly, the ALTCS applicant must need nursing assistance. In order to determine the need for nursing home placement, ALTCS uses the Pre-Admission Screening (PAS) instrument. The PAS is an attempt to test the patient’s ability to provide her own care.


More difficulty is usually found in trying to meet the financial eligibility standards. The applicant must have less than the allowed level of both income and assets. For a single person, the asset limitation is $2,000 of “available” resources (not including home, auto and some other assets). The single applicant may have up to $1338/month of income (this number will change at the beginning of the year).

Of course, many applicants are married. Rules for those patients are vastly more complicated and provide much more flexibility for planning. Even single applicants may be able to preserve significant assets through careful planning.

Necessarily, this overview is cursory. For more information, consider next week’s seminars.

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