Posted on April 1, 2011
When Governor Kasich released his state budget proposal and said that he wanted to put more money into home-care, a more cost effective alternative and the choice of seniors, aging advocates were thrilled. However, the budget proposal actually contains provisions to reduce services to PASSPORT consumers.
A Marion PASSPORT consumer, Mr. Arthur Dodge, was very concerned about this information and asked his Area Agency on Aging Case Manager, Tami, to help him schedule an appointment to meet with the Representative. Tami promised Mr. Dodge she would talk with the legislator during a reception held recently in Columbus by the Ohio Association of Area Agencies on Aging (o4a). Representative McClain was very gracious to schedule the meeting on the spot to meet with Arthur the very next week in Mr. Dodge’s home.
Mr. Dodge got his opportunity to speak with Representative McClain face-to-face on Monday, April 11. He voiced his concerns about the funding cuts and said that he needed everything that PASSPORT provided for him to be able to stay at home.
Art is a 67 year old with Muscular Dystrophy and Spastic Paraplegia for 30 years. He is completely wheelchair bound and lives in his own home. He has a friend who assists with laundry weekly, but no other informal support.
Mr. Dodge’s care consists of two personal care aides to transfer him out of his bed into the wheelchair and shower and then back into bed every day. He has a registered nurse who visits daily with a home health aide to provide medical procedure and sets up his meds in an automatic dispenser. Art also receives a hot meal Monday through Friday and can prepare other small meals himself. Due to living alone, he has an emergency response system to access assistance when needed. Mr. Dodge lost his wife 6 years ago and his companion now is a Yorkie named Grace. He is able to receive many supplies through the Veteran’s Administration and other supplies through PASSPORT. Art depends on PASSPORT to provide transportation to out of town medical appointments as well. Art has been on the PASSPORT program for 5 years.
Tami Rabold, RN, Art’s PASSPORT Case Manager through the Area Agency on Aging, shared with Representative McClain that “I have looked and looked at his service plan trying to see if there’s anything that could be cut. If just one bit of his services are cut, Mr. Dodge will not be able to stay at home.”
Duana Patton, Chief Executive Officer of the Ohio District 5 Area Agency on Aging, Inc. voiced “I am very concerned about the cuts to the PASSPORT program as proposed in the Governor’s budget and the impact such cuts will have on the services clients receive.” Patton explained “the PASSPORT program has been a proven program designed to give consumers a choice between nursing home or receiving services in their home. Statewide, Area Agencies on Aging have linked older adults to inhome and community based programs resulting in the rate of people receiving nursing home care compared to in home care has plummeted from 90% to 58%.”
Other provisions in the budget affecting senior citizens include a 15% cut to Area Agencies on Aging who are the initial contact assessing the needs of consumers and cuts to service providers. The Area Agencies on Aging statewide successfully diverted people from Medicaid programs through the assessment and community referrals. Only 9,000 of 300,000 contacts entered PASSPORT.
“We are so grateful to have legislators like Representative McClain who are willing to make a face-to-face visit with a consumer during an extremely busy time. It allows them to see first hand the positive impact of home and community based services” Bev Rosich, Communications Manager of the Area Agency on Aging shared.
The Area Agency on Aging serves a nine county district consisting of Marion, Ashland, Crawford, Huron, Knox, Morrow, Richland, Seneca and Wyandot Counties and can be contacted at 419-524-4144 or 800-860-5799.