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Ohio Department of Aging Press Release

Feb. 7, 2012

State agencies partner to link vocational rehabilitation consumers and veterans to resources to help them return to work, age in place

Enhancing connections will increase independence and reduce costs to taxpayers

COLUMBUS - The Ohio Department of Aging (ODA), the Ohio Department of Veterans Services (ODVS) and the Ohio Rehabilitation Services Commission (ORSC) today announced a partnership between the state agencies and local partners to link Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) consumers with chronic disease self-management workshops and employment supports to help them remain at or return to work. The Vocational Rehabilitation Public Private Partnership (VP3) initiative enhances awareness among vocational rehabilitation consumers and providers of ODA's Healthy U chronic disease and diabetes self-management programs, which have been proven to reduce disability and increase independence.

"Chronic disease becomes much more common as people age," said RSC Director Kevin L. Miller, "The Healthy U program helps citizens manage their disease and stay on the job. As a result, they will maintain economic independence and the state will avoid the Medicaid expense that comes with a Social Security Disability Insurance benefit."

"Older adults and people with disabilities want to remain vital, active members of their communities who continue to thrive and contribute. Many just need a little help to do that," added ODA director Bonnie Kantor-Burman. "By leveraging local partners, including area agencies on aging, the Senior Community Service Employment Program, Healthy U Workshop providers, Centers for Independent Living and others, we can support successful employment and independence, and increase the connections between those local partners."

Along with the disease self-management programs, VR consumers will be provided peer support groups and individual employment supports to help ready them for the workforce again. The program will be piloted in five cities, including Steubenville, where the workshop will be targeted toward veterans with disabilities.

"This interagency collaboration is aimed at a more coordinated effort to offer programs and services to help disabled veterans get back to work or remain in their own homes for as long as possible," said ODVS Director Thomas N. Moe. "By working together, state agencies and local partners can enhance the quality of life for so many who have served their state and country."

ODA plans to invest $41,000 in non-federal funds, which gives the initiative the potential of drawing down $151,290 in VRP3 Federal match funds, for a total project investment of $192,290.

About ODA - The Ohio Department of Aging works to ensure that our elders are respected as vital members of society who continue to grow, thrive and contribute. We work with state agencies and community partners, including area agencies on aging, to help integrate aging needs into local plans and ensure that aging Ohioans have access to a wide array of high-quality services and supports that are person-centered in policy and practice. Our programs include the PASSPORT Medicaid waiver, caregiver support, the long-term care ombudsman program, the Golden Buckeye Card and more. Visit www.aging.ohio.gov.


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