A statewide elder advocacy group will testify this Friday that the Patrick Administration has proposed “unreasonable” rate cuts that will cut $2.1 million in support for home care for low-income seniors—at a time when more than 2,200 elders are on a wait list for care.
Al Norman, the Executive Director of Mass Home Care, will testify on Friday, September 7th before the Division of Health Care Finance and Policy in Boston, that its proposed rates are “unreasonable and inadequate.”
“We should be investing more money to keep elders at home,” Norman said, “not less.”
According to Mass Home Care, there are currently roughly 2,200 elders on home care waiting lists due to insufficient funding. This year, home care accounts are $15 million lower than in FY 2009. Old Colony Elder Services, the regional Aging Services Access Point covering Brockton and 22 surrounding communities, currently has 173 people on wait lists who cannot access needed services per Diana DiGiorgi, Executive Director.
The rate hearing Friday is part of the implementation of Chapter 257 of the Acts of 2008, which requires the Administration to pay human services agencies rates which are “reasonable and adequate to meet the costs which are incurred by efficiently and economically operated social service program providers.” Mass Home Care says the Administration’s proposal “undermines the purpose of upgrading rates for human services programs.”
“Chapter 257 was written by human services advocates,” Norman said. “The whole point of the law was to give programs the money needed to run an efficient program. These proposed rates are not based on any analysis of the true cost of providing care to the elderly.”
The cuts to home care are based on a DHCFP methodology that uses expenses from fiscal year 2010. But such expenditures are backed into based on an annual appropriation level—not on an actual build-up of what it costs to run a program.
According to Mass Home Care’s own calculations, the home care Case Management rates should be increased by 8.6 percent over current levels—not cut by 4.5 percent.
Norman said the Patrick Administration has presided over one of the largest cuts in home care appropriations in the history of the program.
“For a state that touts its ‘community first’ approach to senior care,” Norman concluded, “seniors have lost millions of dollars in state support—at a time the population in need is growing faster than the rest of the population. The Governor should commit to growing these community programs—not shrinking them.”
SEE ATTACHED TESTIMONY
Incorporated in 1974, Old Colony Elder Services is a private, non-profit corporation designated as one of 27 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, individuals with disabilities, their families and caregivers in 23 communities 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. For more information call (508) 584-1561 or visit the website at www.oldcolonyelderservices.org.