A $110.6 million grant has been awarded from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to help the Office of Health and Human Services (HHS) expand and enhance the Commonwealth’s community-based long term services and supports system for elders and individuals with disabilities. Old Colony Elder Services (OCES), the Brockton based regional agency that serves older adults and individuals with disabilities, is pleased with this news because the much needed funding will help ensure long-term home care needs will be addressed.
The grant award comes from CMS’s Balancing Incentive Program (BIP), a part of the Affordable Care Act, which provides enhanced federal funds to states that enrich their long-term care system. States participating in BIP are required to spend at least 50 percent of their federal funding on non-institutional community-based, Long Term Services and Supports (LTSS) by September 2015.
According to Mass Home Care, the Community First/Olmstead Plan of 2007 established a road map that has been guiding the development of increased access to person-centered information and self-directed services for people in need of LTSS. BIP provides another major opportunity toward full access for all populations in need of LTSS.
“We applaud the Administration for expanding its Community First effort, while at the same time, increasing federal matching funds to the state,” said Mass Home Care Executive Director Al Norman. “Elders want a chance to live out their days at home. BIP will provide more funding to honor that desire.”
“This funding is of great significance as it will support the dignity and independence of elders and people with disabilities by helping them receive essential services to maximize their quality of life; live safely and in good health; and, prevent unnecessary or premature institutionalization,” said Diana DiGiorgi, Executive Director of Old Colony Elder Services.
Per Mass Home Care, the Governor’s FY’15 budget proposal also includes a $16.9 million expansion of the Commonwealth’s Home Care Program and $1.3 million to expand the Supportive Housing Program from 31 to 41 sites, to allow public housing residents to age in place in an “assisted-living” environment. Over the last decade, Massachusetts has demonstrated a 62 percent increase in length of stay in Elder Affairs Community First programs, helping eliminate or delay long-term facility placement for thousands of residents.
“This funding is an affirmation of our commitment to making community-based services a reality for our most vulnerable residents. I thank the Obama Administration for their partnership in providing our seniors and individuals with disabilities the support they need to live comfortably,” said Governor Deval Patrick in a Mass Home Care press release.
Founded in 1974, OCES serves 20 communities in Plymouth County as well as Avon, Easton and Stoughton. OCES is a private, non-profit organization located in Brockton and designated as one of 27 Aging Services Access Points (ASAPs) in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. OCES’ mission is to support the independence and dignity of elders and individuals with disabilities by providing essential information and services that promote healthy and safe living. The agency has 173 employees and operates more than 15 programs serving older adults, individuals with disabilities, their families and caregivers. For more information call (508) 584-1561 or visit www.oldcolonyelderservices.org