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

Nurse Giving Glass Of Water To Elderly Woman In Wheelchair At Retirement Home. Assisting Senior People

Comprehensive Assessment and Review for Long-Term Care Services (CARES) is Florida’s federally mandated pre-admission screening program for nursing home applicants. 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 Familial Dysautonomia Waiver, and Statewide Medicaid Managed Care Long-Term Care Program. Any person or family member can initiate a CARES assessment by applying for the Medicaid Institutional Care Program (ICP). Assessments are completed at no cost to the clients.

A registered nurse and/or assessor performs client assessments. A physician or registered nurse reviews each application to determine the most appropriate level of care for the applicant. The assessment identifies long-term care needs and recommends the least restrictive, most appropriate placement. By identifying long-term care needs and establishing appropriate level of care, the CARES Program makes it possible for individuals to remain safely in their homes using home and community-based services or in alternative community settings such as assisted living facilities.

Services or Activities

  • Determine medical eligibility for the Medicaid Institutional Care Program (ICP)
  • Determine medical eligibility for Medicaid waivers that provide home and community-based services
  • Conduct medical assessments for residents in nursing facilities entering court-ordered receivership


The Department of Elder Affairs is responsible for the federal program in partnership with the Agency for Health Care Administration. There are 17 CARES field offices. CARES personnel include physicians, registered nurses, assessors, administrative support staff, office supervisors, and regional program supervisors. The CARES management structure also includes central office staff responsible for program and policy development.


Florida residents seeking Medicaid assistance for nursing facilities or community-based long-term care services must meet both medical and financial eligibility requirements. CARES is responsible for performing a comprehensive assessment of all Medicaid long-term care applicants to determine if individuals meets the State’s medical level of care eligibility requirements. Financial eligibility is determined by the Florida Department of Children and Families or the Social Security Administration.

For more information regarding Long-Term Care eligibility or process, visit: