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State Budget Update: Home Care Waiting Lists

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As spring begins to blossom around the Bay State, legislators under the Golden Dome are busy shaping what will become the budget for Fiscal Year 2014.

This budget will impact many programs important to Massachusetts residents 50+. Each week we will spotlight a new issue leading up to the release of the House proposal on April 10 th.

First up are two programs that allow people to remain in their homes and communities, while also saving money for the commonwealth: Massachusetts Home Care and Enhanced Community Options

 

The programs

The Massachusetts Home Care Program provides support services for seniors to allow them to remain at home and out of nursing home care, while the Enhanced Community Options Program or ECOP is designed for individuals with a higher level of care needs.

The numbers

$29: what it costs to keep a person in ECOP

$197: the cost of a standard nursing home bed through MassHealth

When extended to a year, ECOP services cost just $10,489, a fraction of the estimated $72,000 it costs MassHealth for nursing home care.

The need

Due to underfunding, individuals are unable to obtain the care they are qualified to receive at home.

As of January, more than 1,200 seniors are not receiving the home care services for which they are eligible. Instead, they are put on waiting lists. Many are forced into premature and more expensive nursing home care, which may be ultimately paid for by the commonwealth.

Under the governor’s proposal, ECOP funding for Fiscal Year ‘14 remains below levels from Fiscal Year ‘09 despite increased demand. In total, all home care programs are funded below Fiscal Year ‘09 levels by approximately $13 million.

Take action – help us in the fight to end home care waiting lists.

Next week:  Councils on Aging

 

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