More than 162 elderly and disabled individuals in the Adult Foster Care (AFC) Program of Old Colony Elder Services will be affected by the Patrick Administration’s proposed cuts to MassHealth.
In January, the Patrick Administration released news of MassHealth budget cuts to the Adult Foster Care Program which provides daily assistance with personal care and care management oversight in a caregiver’s home on a 24/7 basis. The proposal would decrease the payment rates for all AFC services by 6.2% effective March 15, 2011.
In light of this, 29 individuals, including Old Colony Elder Services AFC staff, AFC caregivers and clients recently attended a public hearing held at the Division of Health Care Finance and Policy in Boston. Caregivers had an opportunity to voice their concerns and spoke about the level of work and commitment involved in their 24/7 role as caregivers. Many testified that they would receive better pay and benefits working outside the home. AFC Level I caregivers receive approximately $25 per day and AFC Level II caregivers receive approximately $50 per day.
AFC staff and other professionals in attendance, including Al Norman, Mass Home Care Executive Director, explained to the audience that AFC actually keeps frail and vulnerable citizens living at home and out of more expensive institutional settings.
AFC Level II enrollees, often requiring care similar to those in nursing homes, have an annual cost of $30,327.00. In comparison, the annual cost of a skilled nursing facility is at least $58,765.00.
“It just doesn’t make fiscal sense. Cutting the AFC rates will ultimately result in fewer caregivers and an increased number of elders entering skilled nursing facilities. It will cost the state almost twice as much as it would if the program remained intact,” said Diana DiGiorgi, Executive Director of Old Colony Elder Services. She continued, “The decrease in AFC rates will make it difficult to attract caregivers. This would be unfortunate in light of the fact that AFC is a growing and thriving housing and care alternative that enables seniors to remain at home while providing tremendous savings to the commonwealth.”
About Old Colony Elder Services
Incorporated in 1974, Old Colony Elder Services is one of 27 private, non-profit Aging Services Access Points (ASAPs) in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Old Colony Elder Services offers a number of programs to serve seniors, individuals with disabilities, their families and caregivers such as Family Caregiver Support; Adult Family Care; Supportive Housing; Nutrition; Money Management; Protective Services and Home Care.
Old Colony Elder Services serves elders, their families and caregivers in 23 towns in Southeastern Massachusetts: Abington, Avon, Bridgewater, Brockton, Carver, Duxbury, East Bridgewater, Easton, Halifax, Hanover, Hanson, Kingston, Lakeville, Marshfield, Middleboro, Pembroke, Plymouth, Plympton, Rockland, Stoughton, Wareham, West Bridgewater and Whitman.
The organization’s mission is to provide services that support the dignity and independence of elders by helping them maximize their quality of life; live safely and in good health; and, prevent unnecessary or premature institutionalization.
The agency has 140 employees. For more information call (508) 584-1561 or visit the website at www.oldcolonyelderservices.org