Area Agency on Aging Directors Testify at Medicaid Waiver Public Forums
Albany, NY (June 2012) – Six members of the New York State Association of Area Agencies on Aging testified at the Governor’s Medicaid Waiver Public Forum, established to solicit ideas for reforming New York’s Medicaid Program.
The proposed federal Medicaid Waiver will enable New York to fully implement the Medicaid Redesign Team’s action plan, reinvest the state’s health care infrastructure and lower costs over the long term.
“During the month of June, Office for Aging directors and commissioners traveled to public forum sites in their region of the state to share information on community-based programs for older citizens that allow them to stay at home longer, delaying and in many cases avoiding the need to spend down to Medicaid and end up in nursing facilities,” said Laura Cameron, Executive Director of the New York State Association of Area Agencies on Aging.
The following are highlights from the testimony:
Syracuse Public Forum (June 12, 2012)
“As New York undertakes its Medicaid redesign, there will be many implications to individuals (both private and public pay) who are currently served by or will soon enter the long term care system. As a result of these pending changes, these populations will need individualized assistance. NY Connects (a federally endorsed Aging and Disability Center – “ADRC”) and the Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) are extremely well positioned to serve in this capacity.” - Michael J. Romano, Director of the Oneida County Office for the Aging/Continuing Care and New York State Association of Area Agencies on Aging Legislative Chair.
“The Office for Aging offers a wide range of programs that keep people in their homes for as long as it is safe and feasible to do so. It is widely known that community based services are much more cost effective and preferable to the majority of consumers than residential options. The Onondaga County Department of Aging participated in a Federal Demonstration grant known as the Community Living program, the hallmarks of which were offering consumer directed choice in home care options, and a menu of other services to keep participants safe at home. Our data shows a substantial cost savings among participants: 85 percent used a budget of less than $7,500 annually to do so, compared to the average of $32,000 Medicaid would have spent.” Lisa Alford, Commissioner of the Department of Aging and Youth for the Onondaga County Department of Aging and Youth
Buffalo Public Forum
(June 13, 2012)
“Chautauqua County Office for the Aging was the recipient of two federal HRSA grants. The first was a planning grant. The number one priority that emerged was the need to strengthen and enhance case management and referral and community based long term services and supports. Our process developed a new model for the system that marries the Patient Centered Medical Home the hub of the client’s medical care) with NY Connects (ADRC) as the hub for deploying community living needs. NY Connects not only provides information and assistance but also acts as central intake for OFA services.” - Mary Ann Spanos, Director of the Chautauqua County Office for the Aging and a member of the Board of the New York State Association of Area Agencies on Aging.
“Directing Medicaid Waiver funding to NY Connects would allow us to develop a fully functional NY Connects Aging and Disability Resource Center and enable us to: offer more in-home services targeting those at risk of Medicaid spend down and/or premature placement in a nursing program, implement and/or expand health promotion and prevention activities like the Chronic Disease Self Management Program, fund more information programs on long term care planning. - Kaaren Smith, Director of the Livingston County Office for the Aging.
Bronx Public Forum (June 18, 2012)
The New York State waiver would allow us to expand and strengthen NY Connects as follows: Be a central intake for referrals for Medicaid home and community-based services to ensure maximization of community resources, expand home and community-based services for Medicaid populations to diver them from Medicaid, expand the Health Insurance Counseling and Assistance Program with would include application assistance. - Victoria Meyerhoefer, Director of the Nassau County Office for the Aging.
“As New York State undertakes the redesign of its Medicaid program, it is important to look at those programs that prevent or delay individuals from needing the costlier services that are currently covered by Medicaid…Utilizing waiver funds to strengthen and expand NY Connects will delay spend-down to Medicaid, reduce the number of people applying for Medicaid and provide increased information and access to lower cost community based services. - Holly Rhodes-Teague, Director of the Suffolk County Office for the Aging and a member of the Board of Directors of the New York State Association of Area Agencies on Aging.
Albany Public Forum
(June 20, 2012)
Expanding and strengthening NY Connects will help individuals maximize their private pay capacity by receiving objective information and options counseling by telephone, in-person or in the home on an array of services at the right time in the right setting for the right cost, thereby ensuring Medicaid cost-avoidance. The program will allow for the expansion of NY Connects to all counties and the City of New York and for the further development and enhancement of all NY Connects programs to include the core components of a fully functional Aging and Disability Resource Center. - Crystal Carter, Director of the Clinton County Office for the Aging and President of the Board of Directors of the New York State Association of Area Agencies on Aging.
“The Area Agencies on Aging have a well established record of improving the safety, nutrition, health and well-being of the aging residents in our communities…We offer a SOAP (Shower Out with Assistance Program) that provides frail seniors the opportunity to be assisted in a shower while having their personal laundry done at our “congregate” site…Another example is the Chronic Disease Self-Management program, which is a federally funded, evidence-based program that encouraged older Americans to manage their chronic health conditions. - Patricia Sheehy, Director of the Putnam County Office for Aging.