Wednesday, April 16, 2014
 
 
For more information: contact the Association at (518) 449-7080.
 

Aging Concerns a Magnet for More than 400 at Albany Desmond


Albany, NY (6/6/2013) - The Albany Desmond Hotel this week was the destination for aging network service providers who had one goal in mind – learning new and innovative ways to
Held every year at the Albany Desmond Hotel, the Aging Concerns Unite Us conference attracted a record crowd.
help older New Yorkers age with dignity and independence in their homes and communities. 

The reason for their visit was the 17th Annual Aging Concerns Unite Us (ACUU) conference, a collaborative professional development event for New York’s county-based Area Agencies on Aging and the aging services network they partner with, and often contract with, both of which are experiencing growth and change as a result of demographic change drivers and major policy and program changes as a result of the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid Redesign and Gov. Cuomo’s Olmstead Plan.

The event was more popular than ever judging by the higher number attending this year. Despite the impact of sequestration on the aging network, the conference registered more than 400, the highest number on record, event organizers said.


"This year’s ACUU was popular for multiple reasons, including the Affordable Care Act and the introduction of Managed Long Term Care as a result of Medicaid Redesign,” said Laura Cameron, Executive Director of the New York State Association of Area Agencies on Aging, event organizers. “The workshops and general sessions have always been a valuable resource for individuals and agencies that provide community-based services for older adults,” Cameron
said.

Area Agencies on Aging provide pre-Medicaid programs funded by federal, state and local governments, but some of the services they traditionally offer are now also covered under managed care, as a result of Medicaid Redesign. On Tuesday, the New York State Office for the Aging led a standing-room-only workshop for new providers on New York State Regulations for social adult day services programs (SADS).


(l to r) Mark Kissinger, Long Term Care Division Director, NYS Department of Health; Greg Olsen, New York State Office for Aging Acting Director and Roger Bearden, Special Counsel to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo for Olmstead just before the General Session on Day One of ACUU. 
The General Session on day one also was packed to capacity. Moderated by Steven Acquario, Executive Director of the New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC), it featured a discussion between New York State’s human services leaders: Mark Kissinger, Long Term Care Division Director, NYS Department of Health; Greg Olsen, New York State Office for Aging Acting Director; and Roger Bearden, Olmstead Plan Special Counsel for Governor Andrew M. Cuomo. Their discussion revolved around how the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid Redesign and the Olmstead Plan affect the aging services network.

Amy Gotwals of the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a) also participated in the discussion, emphasizing the importance of the reauthorization of the Older Americans Act (OAA), which is the centerpiece for Long Term Services and Supports (LTSS).

The state’s 59 Area Agencies on Aging are at the center of the network that includes local providers who subcontract under the agencies and provide everything from transportation to home care and home delivered meals, depending on local need. The Area Agencies on Aging were established in the 1970’s as a result of the passage of the Older Americans Act (OAA) in 1965.

Conference-goers had plenty of questions about how Social model Adult Day Serveices work with Medicaid Redesign.
“The free flow of conversation during the General Session was great,” said Ken Genewick, Director of the Niagara County Office for the Aging, coming out of a workshop. “The format allowed the participants to bounce things off of each other, the topics were perfect and the moderator did a great job of leading the discussion so that all of the topics were covered.”

“What’s important to take away is these things aren’t happening in isolation,” Greg Olsen, Acting Director of the New York State Office for the Aging, told the audience. “We’re all at the same meetings together and that’s important because all of the underlying issues cut across all of these major initiatives that need to be tied together.”

Olsen, whose New York State Office for the Aging co-sponsored the event with the aging association, also answered a burning question posed by Acquario: What is a BIP?

BIP is the Balancing Incentive Payment Program, Olsen said, and it provides New York State an additional two percent Medicaid to continue to rebalance its long term services and supports system. It’s a $600 million grant and was awarded to New York State by the federal government in March in order to continue to rebalance the system. There three primary deliverables include: having a single point of entry /no wrong door for providing objective information and assistance on long term services and supports, implementing conflict free case management and  implementing a core standardized uniform assessment tool.
 
Wednesday's General Session was about Transforming Aging Services Through Philanthropy and was presented by Rick Iannello of the Albany Guardian Society.

“The light is starting to shine on the capability and capacity of the aging network to be part of the larger efforts to reform health care and managed care and Medicaid Redesign,” Olsen said.

The ACUU conference also featured workshops on lessons learned by Area Agencies on Aging in areas impacted by Hurricane Irene, Tropical Storm Lee and Hurricane Sandy and Care Transitions and workshops on how Area Agencies on Aging are helping New York lower hospitals readmission rates.

“The fact that the conference brought in the highest number of attendees in recent memory even during these tough economic times attests to the value of ACUU for an ever expanding group of professionals serving an ever expanding population of seniors in New York State,” according to Cameron, NYSAAAA’s Executive Director.

For more information on the NYS Association of Area Agencies on Aging – or AgingNY – go to http://www.agingny.org


For information about New York State Office for the Aging, visit
http://www.aging.ny.gov


About Us
The New York State Association of Area Agencies on Aging represents New York's 59 county-based Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) and works collaboratively with a network of organizations that exist to promote independence, preserve dignity and provide support for residents of New York State as they age. The Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) were established under the Older Americans Act of 1965 to respond to the needs of Americans age 60 and over. They do it by being the "go-to" for home and community-based services -- nutrition counseling, adult day services, home energy assistance, home delivered meals, among other things -- that make it possible for aging Americans to live independently and with dignity in their homes and communities for as long as possible. Services provided through the New York State Area Agencies on Aging (or Offices for Aging) are funded through the Federal Older Americans Act, New York State, county government, contributions from participants and other sources. Expanding and extending the Area Agencies on Aging reach and resources is an option for dealing with the high cost of long-term care for New Yorkers. The community-based services they provide allow the oldest members of our communities to live independently for longer -- and delay Medicaid eligibility.

Working together: (l to r) Stephen Acquario, New York State Association of Counties Executive Director; Mark Kissinger, Long Term Care Division Director, NYS Department of Health; Roger Bearden, Olmstead Plan Special Counsel for Governor Andrew M. Cuomo; Greg Olsen, New York State Office for Aging Acting Director; and Amy Gotwals of the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a).test
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