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Senior Advocacy in Action Alert

8/18/2010 3:20pm

Funding for two critical senior programs is being deliberated right now in a joint House-Senate Conference Committee. The Legislature is expected to finish work on the 2011 budget this month, and we are asking everyone to make a last push to inform legislators how crucial this funding is.

 

What you can do:

Contact these members of the Conference Committee and thank them for their past support. Ask them to approve $196 million for MI Choice in 2011, and to STOP any further cuts to the Office of Services to the Aging. 

 

Background:

  • MI Choice Waiver is a Medicaid program that provides a variety of services in a person’s home that are similar to those provided in a nursing home, at a fraction of the cost. MI Choice is for the most financially needy clients.  The program has been proven to save the state millions of dollars annually, and keeps seniors where they want to be – at home. Unfortunately, any program not mandated, like MI Choice, is in jeopardy.
  • Office of Services to the Aging (OSA) funding also provides programs to help keep seniors living independently. The programs are very similar to MI Choice, but serve seniors who are not quite at poverty level. OSA funding has already been cut by $7 million this year – an 18% loss in one year.  The Governor’s budget recommendations for FY 2011 include more cuts in OSA services, totaling 26%.  The cuts would reduce in-home services, home-delivered meals, care management, volunteer programs, caregiver supports and others. Without these services and the ability to stay in their own homes, seniors spend down their assets and go on Medicaid to pay for a nursing home bed at a huge increase in cost to the state.
 

Committee Members:

Please call or email these conference committee members as soon as possible!

 

Talking points:

MI Choice:
  • MI Choice is cost-effective, costing $39/day compared with $160/day for nursing home care.
  • There are 7,000 people on the MI Choice waiting list statewide.  These individuals are in serious jeopardy for institutionalization, at a much greater cost to the state.
  • Thanks to MI Choice and other home care programs, nursing home expenditures dropped in Michigan for the first time in history from 2007-2009.
 
Office of Services to the Aging:
  • OSA services prevent seniors from going into nursing homes, spending down their assets, and then going on Medicaid.
  • Last year, $4 million in OSA services saved Medicaid $140 million
  • There are 4,400 on waiting lists for OSA services like meals and home care.

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Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan
3215 Eaglecrest Dr NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49525
Phone: 616-456-5664 or 888-456-5664 • Fax: 616-456-5692

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