Old Colony Elder Services, an agency that serves elders, individuals with disabilities, their families and caregivers in 23 towns in the Brockton and South Shore area, shares insight on the impact of the proposed budget cuts which were recently announced by the Patrick Administration.
The Patrick Administration is set to make a series of rate cuts to several key MassHealth programs and services. These cuts will ultimately affect the area’s most vulnerable residents – low-income seniors.
Approximately $3.25 million will be cut from programs in the remaining months of 2011, plus another $12.3 million is slated to be cut from the 2012 budget.
According to Old Colony Elder Services (OCES), the MassHealth cuts are proposed for the following.
Adult Foster Care – a program that provides daily assistance with personal care and case management oversight in a caregivers home on a 24/7 basis. The proposal would decrease the payment rates for all adult foster care (AFC) services by 6.2% effective March 15, 2011. Reduced rates would not be enough to attract the additional caregivers needed to expand this program and may even reduce the number of existing caregivers. Fewer caregivers will result in the state’s taxpayers paying for more costly living arrangements for these elderly and disabled individuals. Currently OCES has 162 people in this program.
Adult Day Health – a community-based day program providing nursing, therapeutic services and oversight for seniors in an effort to postpone nursing facility placement. Services provided also include nutrition, dietary counseling, case management, activities, and assistance with activities of daily living. The proposed cuts decrease the payment rates for adult day health (ADH) services by an average of 7.8%. Mass Home Care estimated that Adult Day Health enables nearly 7,000 individuals to remain living in the community, which saves taxpayers millions of dollars annually. According to Mass Home Care’s Executive Director Al Norman, “If these seniors had to be institutionalized due to lack of ADH services, the cost would be roughly $408.8 million annually, whereas the entire cost of the ADH program is only about $90 million.”
Group Adult Foster Care – a program that provides daily assistance with personal care services and case management oversight by the provider in an elderly/disabled housing complex or Assisted Living Residence. The Administration has proposed cutting this program’s rates by 7.6%.
“The proposed funding cuts to MassHealth’s Adult Foster Care, Adult Day Health and Group Adult Foster Care programs will affect those most in need. Their only other option is expensive institutional care. These MassHealth programs and services are essential because they enable seniors and disabled individuals who are financially needy to remain living at home longer and with a better quality of life. A reduction in funding for these program will most certainly increase the number of people living in nursing homes,” explained Diana DiGiorgi, Executive Director of OCES.
Ironically, these same programs and services are critical to the success of Governor Patrick’s Community First initiative to enable people to live as long as possible in the least restrictive setting possible.
Incorporated in 1974, Old Colony Elder Services is one of 27 private, non-profit Aging Services Access Points (ASAPs) in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. OCES 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.
OCES 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. In 2009, OCES was honored with the Metro-South Chamber of Commerce’s “Economic Impact Award”. The agency has 140 employees. For more information call (508) 584-1561 or visit the website at www.oldcolonyelderservices.org