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The Ohio Department of Aging

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February 2011

Governor names Bonnie Kantor-Burman new Department of Aging director
Discusses future of Medicaid in Ohio

Governor John Kasich has named Bonnie Kantor-Burman, Sc.D. as the new director of the Ohio Department of Aging. As director, she will help to lead the state's effort to transform health care and long-term care for its citizens. Before joining the department, Director Kantor-Burman served as the executive director of the Pioneer Network, a national center for the development of person-centered long-term care delivery systems. She helped to develop public policy change at the highest levels of state and federal government.

Director Bonnie Kantor Burman

"My goal is to contribute to the development of consistent and creative policies and programs for long-term care and to further drive the transformation of long-term care so that elders will be entitled to self-determination and high quality, evidenced-based, person-directed care wherever and whenever they need care," said Director Kantor-Burman. "My goals as director include reforming and enhancing the quality and efficiency of our health care system, strengthening long-term care options that give elders more choices about their care, and focusing on preventive gerontology. I embrace the opportunity to design and implement initiatives that address the complexities of Medicare, Medicaid and health care reform."

Prior to joining the Pioneer Network in January 2007, Kantor-Burman served as the director of the Office of Geriatrics and Gerontology at the Ohio State University Medical Center for 15 years. She received her doctorate in Health Policy and Management from The Johns Hopkins School of Public Health.

"While I am a strong supporter of balancing our long-term care system, I am an even stronger advocate for balancing responsibility. I advocate directly for holding families, individuals and communities accountable throughout and within the process," Kantor-Burman added.

Gov. Kasich also announced plans to overhaul Ohio's $15.4 billion Medicaid program. He signed an executive order creating the Governor's Office of Health Transformation to improve services and contain costs in the health-care program that covers two million poor and disabled Ohioans. Gov. Kasich named Greg Moody, who has counseled him on health and human services issues and was an adviser to Gov. Bob Taft, to lead the office overseeing Medicaid services administered through six state agencies, including the Department of Aging.

Gov. Kasich vowed that Ohio will not drop out of the state-federal Medicaid program because of rising costs. "We have no intention of withdrawing from Medicaid," he said. "People can have better treatment at significant savings." However, he did not rule out tightening eligibility requirements or eliminating services. Gov. Kasich said possible changes include more emphasis on preventive care to keep people healthy and better coordination of services to avoid duplication.

"Cutting a rate here is not going to balance the budget using Medicaid. It's going to be a combination of policy changes that interact in really complex ways that we're going to try to figure out in the next 90 days and then through the course of the budget process, to make sure by June we have a package that works together," Greg Moody added.

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$1,000 awards for caregivers to celebrate their creativity
The Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging is accepting applications for its new Innovation in Caregiving Award. The honor recognizes adults who, in the course of caring for an older adult in a home or a residential setting, invent a device or technique that solves a caregiving challenge, or find a new application for an existing device or technique that supports caregiving and eases the burden on caregivers. Award winners will be family caregivers, paid care providers and support staff. The award criteria include the innovation of the device, technique or new application; its utility; its potential for improving quality of care or of life and its ability to be replicated. The award will be presented at the Benjamin Rose Aging Your Way conference in November 2011. Up to three award winners will receive a commemorative plaque and a check for $1,000. Applications for the award are available online at www.benrose.org or by calling (216) 791-8000. Deadline for applications is June 30, 2011.

Ohio Respite Summit
The Lifespan Respite Program, funded by the US Administration on Aging, was established to help states expand, enhance and coordinate respite services. Parents and other family caregivers, respite providers, community groups and agencies are invited to the free Ohio Respite Summit, on March 4, 2011 in Columbus, to learn about Lifespan Respite, coalition building, and to design a coordinated Ohio respite system. The program is for anyone, of any age, who is impacted by developmental disabilities, other disabilities, mental health issues, aging, chronic illness or abuse. Register online at www.archrespite.org/OhioRespiteSummit or by phone at (513) 636-4723.