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Comprehensive Assessment and Review
for Long-Term Care Services (CARES)

Comprehensive Assessment and Review for Long-Term Care Services (CARES) is Florida’s federally mandated pre-admission screening program for nursing home applicants. A registered nurse and/or assessor performs client assessments. A physician or registered nurse 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.

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 like Adult Cystic Fibrosis Waiver, Familial Dysautonomia Waiver, Project Aids Care Waiver, Statewide Medicaid Managed Care Long-Term Care Program, and Traumatic Brain and Spinal Cord Injury. A CARES assessment is also mandatory if a private-pay applicant is suspected of having an intellectual disability or mental illness. Any person or family member can initiate a CARES assessment by applying for the Medicaid Institutional Care Program (ICP).

Services or Activities

    • Medical eligibility for the Medicaid Institutional Care Program (ICP)
    • Medical eligibility for Medicaid waivers that provide community-based services
    • Medical assessment for all mentally ill individuals requesting ICP
    • Medical assessment for individuals with intellectual disabilities requesting ICP services


The Department of Elder Affairs is responsible for the federal program through an interagency agreement with the Agency for Health Care Administration. Eighteen CARES field offices are located throughout the state. CARES personnel include registered nurses and assessors, administrative support staff, office supervisors, and regional program supervisors. Physicians are used as consultants as part of the staffing process.

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