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Ohio Department of Aging Press Release

Oct. 3, 2011

Feds give Ohio authority to allow options for seniors who prefer assisted living over nursing homes and funding to continue transforming services for aging Ohioans

Assisted Living waiver approval, federal grant award position Ohio as a model state

COLUMBUS - Ohio's innovative, evidence-based approach to delivering aging and disability supports has garnered the support of two federal agencies, giving Ohio the authority to offer increased assisted living options, as well as resources to accelerate the overall transformation of the long-term care system.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) approved changes to Ohio's Assisted Living Medicaid Waiver, which immediately gives more seniors the ability to choose assisted living facilities as a long term care setting. Additionally, the U.S. Administration on Aging (AoA) awarded Ohio a three-year grant to enhance and integrate care systems.

"We are pleased that both CMS and AoA recognize the importance of a person-centered care management approach that integrates services for physical, behavioral, long-term care and social needs," said Greg Moody, director of Governor John Kasich's Office of Health Transformation. "With these agencies' assistance, we can enable people who wish to stay in the community to do so and continue to streamline care coordination and access to services into the future."

Assisted Living Medicaid Waiver Change Approval

CMS recently approved the Ohio Department of Aging's revised guidelines for the state's Assisted Living Waiver Program that remove a requirement that a person must have either been a resident of a nursing home for at least six months or receiving services in another Medicaid waiver program. A second change allows consumers to begin receiving assisted living services while their Medicaid eligibility is being determined. Ohio's Assisted Living Waiver program pays the costs of care in an assisted living facility for certain people with Medicaid, allowing the consumer to use his or her resources to cover "room and board" expenses. Nearly 3,200 Ohioans currently use the Assisted Living Waiver.

AoA Grant

Ohio was one of four states (with Georgia, Minnesota and New York) funded by AoA to demonstrate how to transform state systems to provide consumers with simplified and streamlined access to needed services. Over the next three years, Ohio will receive $3 million to give older adults, people with disabilities and their caregivers:

  • Streamlined access to quality home- and community-based preventive and caregiver support services through the Aging and Disability Resource Network and the Ohio Benefit Bank;
  • Expanded access to existing and new evidence-based disease-management, prevention and caregiver support programs;
  • A trained workforce that is able to provide quality person-centered dementia and disability supports; and
  • Transitional care across settings to reduce the risk of emergency room visits and hospital readmissions.

The grant also includes funding for Partners in Dementia Care (PDC): A Dementia Capable System of Care for Ohio Veterans and their Caregivers, an evidence-based program that links primary and specialty care services from the U.S. Veterans Administration Medical Center with a full range of community-based health, social and support services from community organizations in Cleveland and Akron. The experiences in this region will serve as a blueprint for statewide expansion.

Partners in the two initiatives include the Ohio Departments of Aging, Health and Job and Family Services; Ohio's 12 Area Agencies on Aging; Ohio's Centers for Independent Living; Ohio Association of Second Harvest Foodbanks/Benefit Bank; Ohio's Alzheimer's Association chapters; Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging; Scripps Gerontology Center at Miami University, Department of Veterans Affairs Louis Stokes Medical Center and the Ohio Association of Gerontology and Education.

"Regardless of age or physical condition, all Ohioans deserve to be respected as vital members of society who continue to grow, thrive and contribute to their families and communities," said Bonnie Kantor-Burman, director of the Ohio Department of Aging. "Ohio is fortunate to have such a dedicated network devoted to ensuring that Ohio is on the leading edge of innovation and responsiveness to the needs of our elders, people with disabilities and their caregivers."

About ODA - The Ohio Department of Aging provides leadership for the delivery of services and supports that improve and promote quality of life and personal choice for older Ohioans, adults with disabilities, their families and their caregivers. Working with 12 area agencies on aging and other community partners, the department offers home- and community-based Medicaid waiver programs such as PASSPORT, the long-term care ombudsman program, the Golden Buckeye Card and more. Visit www.aging.ohio.gov.


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