COAAA and Legislators Talk Aging Priorities

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The Central Ohio Area Agency on Aging (COAAA) invited state legislators to its offices on March 1 for a legislative breakfast.  LifeCare Alliance’s catering company, LA Catering, co-sponsored the buffet breakfast. The meeting provided the opportunity for COAAA staff and COAAA Advisory Council members to meet with district legislators to talk about important aging priorities and the state budget. 

A major topic of discussion was the state proposal to move those receiving Medicaid long term services and supports (not already in the My Care Demonstration) to managed care insurance companies.  That would include PASSPORT clients, Home Care Waiver clients, Nursing Facility folks and those in Assisted Living. It would take managed care to older adults in the rural counties not currently in the My Care demonstration.  Regional Area Agencies on Aging now coordinate and arrange in home services for those who are in the PASSPORT program.
When MyCare Ohio, the state’s managed care demonstration, was implemented in 2014, the goal was to better coordinate Medicare health care services with Medicaid long term care services while saving the state money in the process.  Evaluation of these goals are not available and the Office of Health Transformation is not predicting cost savings to the next budget by making the change to managed care insurance companies.  Coordination of Medicare services is not a part of the proposal.

Cindy Farson, COAAA Director, focused on this topic during the breakfast.  She mentioned that the MyCare Ohio demonstration, which ends in the summer of 2019, should be evaluated on how it served the public before a decision is made on placing the remaining Medicaid long term care beneficiaries into managed care. She cited three issues that needed to be improved in the managed care business model before this plan could work well in rural counties. 1) Improving and speeding up the payment system to providers, 2) Improving the turnaround time for members to obtain durable medical equipment and 3) transportation. Neither an economic analysis nor a consumer satisfaction evaluation has been conducted on MyCare Ohio.  COAAA along with the other area agencies on aging in Ohio have an excellent proven record of administering PASSPORT and are ingrained in communities leveraging different resources for consumers. 

Another topic discussed during the meeting included adult protective services (APS).  Farson asked legislators to consider the $10 million that is needed per year to more fully support APS in Ohio and that a base of $65,000 per county a year, and additional dollars by formula would ensure that county agencies can hire at least one full time staff person, and would provide additional resources needed for outreach, education and services.  

Farson also mentioned the need to restore the allocation for the Senior Community Services Block Grant to $15 million per state fiscal year so Ohio will be better positioned to meet the growing needs of vulnerable older Ohioans.



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