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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Feb. 22, 2010
COLUMBUS - Ohio Governor Ted Strickland today called for the elimination of the waiting list for the PASSPORT program for this fiscal year, as well as the Assisted Living and PACE programs at the Ohio Department of Aging, by the end of March.
Currently, 592 people who need and are eligible for home and community-based services are on a waiting list for these three services.
"We should do our best to support older Ohioans who prefer to live independently in their own homes, but need assistance along the way," Strickland said. "We have identified existing funds that will allow us to assist all seniors eligible for home and community-based care without a wait."
The Department of Aging implemented waiting lists for these services in order to balance their budget for fiscal years 2010-2011. Waiting lists generally cause the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) to incur increased costs from nursing home use and Home First placements.
Strickland has called for the transfer of resources from ODJFS to the Department of Aging to pay for the elimination of the PASSPORT, Assisted Living and PACE program waiting lists. $490,924 in funds can be transferred immediately to pay for Home First placements. A transfer of $4,809,076 to eliminate the waiting list is subject to Controlling Board approval.
These transfers will eliminate the waiting lists through the end of the current fiscal year (June 30). The Administration plans to seek additional transfers in fiscal year 2011 to ensure no waiting lists for the remainder of the biennium.
"These resources are from existing funds that otherwise would have been spent on more expensive care for a smaller group of people," Strickland said. "This change shifts and maximizes limited resources in a way that benefits the most Ohioans."
"I'd like to thank Sen. John Carey, Sen. Dale Miller, Rep. Peggy Lehner, and Rep. Debbie Newcomb for their commitment to this matter and their advocacy for home and community-based care for older Ohioans," Strickland said.
PASSPORT (Pre-Admission Screening System Providing Options and Resources Today) is a Medicaid waiver program run through the Ohio Department of Aging that provides medical care to qualifying seniors in home and community settings.
Contact: Allison Kolodziej
(614) 644-0957 or (614) 558-8120