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Senior Advocacy in Action Alert

4/5/2010 11:00am

Vulnerable seniors have been victims of the state’s budget crisis.  Within the past year, programs funded by the Office of Services to the Aging (OSA) have been cut by $7 million – an 18% loss. The Senate has approved its version of the budget and included the $2.3 million in OSA cuts.  Now the OSA budget is in the House of Representatives. Your advocacy is needed to convince Representatives that more OSA cuts are ‘penny wise and pound foolish.’

 

What You Can Do:

Contact the members of the House Subcommittee (below) that will make a recommendation to the full House about funding for the OSA budget. 

  • Gary McDowell, Chairman  (866) 737-4279 

          garymcdowell@house.mi.gov

  • Shanelle Jackson   (877) 474-2635 

          shanellejackson@house.mi.gov

  • Alma Wheeler Smith  (517) 373-1771 

         almasmith@house.mi.gov

  • John Espinoza   (888) 830-0835 

          johnespinoza@house.mi.gov

  • Vincent Gregory   (517) 373-1788 

          vincentgregory@house.mi.gov

  • Fred Miller    (877) 347-8031 

          fredmiller@house.mi.gov

  • Kevin Green    (866) 538-4677 

          kevingreen@house.mi.gov

  • Matt Lori    (877) 262-5959 

          mattlori@house.mi.gov

  • Hugh Crawford   (517) 373-0827

          hughcrawford@house.mi.gov

 

Additional Talking Points:

  • OSA services help vulnerable seniors stay in their own homes.  They prevent seniors from going into nursing homes, spending down their assets, and then going on Medicaid.
  • OSA services help seniors who are needy, some of whom are on waiting lists for the MI Choice waiver.
  • 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.

 

Background:

The Governor’s budget recommendations for FY 2011 include more cuts in OSA services.  Totaling $2.3 million, the cuts would reduce in-home services, home-delivered meals, care management, volunteer programs, caregiver supports and other programs that help keep seniors living independently.  Without these services, caregivers get burned out and nursing home placement is frequently the result, with seniors spending down their assets and going on Medicaid to pay the $68,000 annual bill.   If these cuts go into effect, more than 2,000 older adults would be affected.

Home and community-based care has proven cost-effective and can save Medicaid money by preventing unnecessary nursing home placement.  Last year, $4 million in OSA services for the most at-risk clients saved Medicaid $140 million.

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Volunteers Needed

4/1/2010 10:00am

Volunteers are needed in Ionia, Kent, Mason, Mecosta, Montcalm and Newaygo counties to help individuals with their Medicare/Medicaid questions.

Training is provided and flexible hours are available.

For more information on the specific opportunities, contact aaainfo@aaawm.org and specify which county you would be interested in.

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#1 Paula Thompson said:

about medicare and medicaid
information. Is there a cost for
this training ? Is there a certification needed to perform these
services. Does one have to pay for costs of transportation?

#2 Webmaster said:

MMAP personnel are trained in counseling skills, Medicare & Medicaid, and various health insurance options. There is no cost for the training; however, MMAP Counselors are expected to commit to at least 12 hours per month of counseling for one year. There is no reimbursement for mileage to and from the counseling site in your county.

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Beware of Census Scams

3/30/2010 3:00pm

The U.S. Census Bureau uses a workforce of trained federal employees to conduct the U.S. Census survey; however, the Census Bureau cannot stop or warn against all bogus or false collections of data. Here are some tips issued by the state of Michigan’s Intelligence Operations Center to help protect your personal information.

  • Do not give out your full social security number, bank account number, credit card number, usernames or passwords.
  • Do not respond to the U.S. Census via the internet.
  • The U.S. Census will not send you an e-mail regarding participating in the Census.
  • The U.S. Census will not ask for donations.
  • The U.S. Census will not send requests on behalf of a political party.
  • If a U.S. Census worker comes to your home, ask to see a valid ID badge.


If you receive a U.S. Census e-mail and suspect it may be bogus, do not reply or click on any link or open attachments. Forward the e-mail to ITSO.Fraud.Reporting@census.gov then delete the e-mail.

Please feel free to share this information with family and friends to assist them with determining the validity of Census requests.

 

Information from the Michigan Office of Services to the Aging

For more information on the U.S. Census in Michigan, visit, www.michigan.gov/census2010

 

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Senior Advocacy in Action Alert

2/25/2010 9:53am

Programs funded by the Office of Services to the Aging (OSA), including meals, home care, caregiver services and volunteer programs, funded at $40 million one year ago, have been slashed by $7 million (18%) within the last year.  Governor Granholm recently announced her recommendation of an  8% cut for next year. Your advocacy is needed to convince Legislators that more OSA cuts are ‘penny wise and pound foolish.’ 

What You Can Do:

Contact the members of the Community Health Appropriations Subcommittee, which makes recommendations to the full Senate about funding for the OSA budget.  

Members of the Community Health Appropriations Subcommittee:

Talking points:

  • OSA services help vulnerable seniors stay in their own homes.  They prevent seniors from going into nursing homes, spending down their assets, and then going on Medicaid.
  • OSA services help seniors who are needy, some of whom are on waiting lists for the MI Choice waiver.
  • Last year, $4 million in OSA services saved Medicaid $140 million

Background:

Within the past year, OSA programs have been reduced by $7 million (an 18% loss).  The Governor’s FY 2011 budget includes cuts totaling $2.3 million. Without these services, caregivers get burned out and nursing home placement is frequently the result, with seniors spending down their assets and going on Medicaid to pay the $68,000 annual bill. If these are passed more than 2,000 older adults would be affected.

While the Governor makes a recommendation, the Legislature makes budget decisions. Home and community-based care has proven cost-effective and can save Medicaid money by preventing unnecessary nursing home placement.  Last year, $4 million in OSA services for the most at-risk clients saved Medicaid $140 million.

Email  Advocacy@aaawm.org  if you want to be added to the list to receive Senior Advocacy in Action Alerts via email.

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Snowbirds and the US Census

1/20/2010 3:00pm

Older adults who travel south for the winter months can fill out census forms when they return to Michigan. Submitting the document with a southern address could cost their home state millions in federal dollars.

“We are encouraging older adults to fill out their forms at home in Michigan,” says Tom Czerwinski, Executive Director of the Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan. “It is a situation that could be very costly for Michigan’s senior services; potentially reducing funding at a time when state dollars are decreasing and the older adult population is increasing.”

The census information is set to be distributed in February and March, when many snowbirds are already at their southern addresses. The form asks individuals to identify who is living at their address on April 1, 2010. Simply write “usual residence elsewhere” on the document and return it without completing the information. 

Those who live in Michigan for six months or more will have a form mailed to their Michigan address.  They can fill out that form when they return to their northern home.

Upcoming federal funding to state and local entities will be based on the 2010 census. If snowbirds are not counted it would costs the state millions in federal funding for senior services.

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Free Kent Rx Discount Card Usage Soars in Tough Economy

1/5/2010 7:00pm

The Free Kent County Rx discount card, sponsored by Kent County and the Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan (AAAWM), debuted in January 2009 and has seen usage numbers climb steadily over the past year.

There are no enrollment or participation guidelines and it is open to Kent County residents of all ages. Participating pharmacies include CVS, Family Fare, Meijer, Kay, Kmart and Walgreens. Card users can expect to see an average of 30% savings off their prescriptions.

“We anticipated the card would be useful to Kent County residents, and it certainly has been says Jackie O’Connor, Assistant Director at AAAWM. “The last report showed over 1,200 users in October 2009. This is double the 600 individuals reported just after the card debuted.”

AAAWM worked with a number of organizations throughout the county to distribute cards. Individuals can still request a card by calling (616) 988-5081 or by visiting www.aaawm.org or http://www.accesskent.com/OnlineServices/rxcard.htm.  Additional savings on eyeglasses, vitamins, pet medications and dental care are also available.

Kent County Administration was the driving force in the inception of the discount card. “This was a great option to give to our citizens without costing the county any money," says Wayman Britt, Assistant Administrator. “It assists Kent County residents who may not have drug coverage and helps individuals and families control skyrocketing prescription expenses.”

Cards have no expiration date and are open to Kent County residents of all ages. Cards can not be used in conjunction with insurance coverage. Depending on the insurance provider, discounts may be better with the Kent County Rx Card.

For more information on how to use the card, click here.

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Seniors and the Flu

12/17/2009 10:48am

While all seniors are encouraged to get a seasonal influenza vaccination, experts believe older adults are less vulnerable to the H1N1 strain. Older adults should still discuss H1N1 with their physician.  

Kent County seniors age 60-64 who do not qualify for Medicare or Medicaid funded vaccines may be eligible to receive flu or pneumonia shots under the Kent County Senior Millage.

For more information, contact AngelCare Home Health Care at 245-8899 or Catherine’s Health Center at 336-8800.

For up-to-date information on influenza, visit www.flu.gov

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Senior Advocacy in Action Alert

11/18/2009 2:09pm

Programs funded by the Office of Services to the Aging (OSA), including meals, home care, caregiver services and volunteer programs, funded at $40 million one year ago, have been slashed by $7 million (18%) within the past four months.  Governor Granholm is directing state offices to plan for another 20% cut for next year if new no new revenues are approved by the Legislature.    

What You Can Do:

Deliver a two-part message:

  1. disappointment about cuts that will hurt frail seniors, people with disabilities and other vulnerable groups.
  2. willingness to support new taxes, closing loopholes, etc. to help the vulnerable. 

Deliver this message to your own Representative and Senator. 

    For contact information, click here

Deliver this message to the two legislative leaders who decided to balance the budget with all cuts:

    Representative  Andy Dillon

        andydillon@house.mi.gov              (888) 737-3455

    Senator Mike Bishop           

        senmbishop@senate.michigan.gov   (877) 924-7467        

Additional Talking Points:

  • OSA cuts are denying services to 8,000 frail older adults. 
  • Helping seniors with home-based services is cost-effective and saves the state from spending more money on nursing homes.

Background:

To address the problem of falling revenues, Governor Granholm recommended a package of tax increases and loophole closings to protect state programs.  But leaders of the Democratic House and Republican Senate forged an agreement to achieve a balanced budget with all cuts and no new revenues.  The House is led by Speaker Andy Dillon (D-Redford) and the Senate Leader is Senator Mike Bishop (R-Rochester).  Despite their leaders’ agreement, both chambers had second thoughts and did approve some new revenues – but the new revenue sources were different from each other as were plans on how to use any new revenues.

The result was a state budget with devastating cuts to state programs, including those providing a safety net to vulnerable older Michiganians.  OSA cuts are only part of the story; there are numerous other cuts in prevention, dementia, mental health, and other services.  And optional Medicaid benefits for eyeglasses, hearing aids, adult dental care, etc. were eliminated.  In the meantime, Legislators are trumpeting their success in protecting the Michigan taxpayer by balancing the budget with no new taxes.  ‘No new tax’ groups are praising Legislators for their tough decisions to cut programs and live within our means.

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Kent County Rx Card

10/27/2009 12:38pm

As a resident of Kent County, you and your family have access to a FREE Prescription Drug Card program. Simply download your card and receive savings of up to 75 percent (savings average around 30 percent) at more than 50,000 national and regional pharmacies. Participating pharmacies include the following: Kmart Pharmacy, Meijer, Family Fare, Kay, CVS/pharmacy, and Walgreens, as well as thousands of independent pharmacies.

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en

11/30/-0001 12:00am

 

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Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan
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Phone: 616-456-5664 or 888-456-5664 • Fax: 616-456-5692

aaainfo@aaawm.org

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