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Home About Us News Latest News Tagged with: Senior

Latest News

Senior Advocacy in Action Alert

4/19/2011 3:15pm

More cuts proposed for state funded senior services!  We need your help to prevent reductions in meals, community services and volunteer programs.

The Governor is recommending another $2.2 million in state cuts, coming from meals ($800,000), community services ($1 million) and volunteer programs ($400,000).     

Last week, a Senate Subcommittee issued its recommendations, and it agreed with the $1 million cut to community services, increased the cuts to volunteer programs to $700,000, but restored the $800,000 cut in senior meals.  A House Subcommittee also issued its recommendations, and it significantly increased the OSA cuts to $8 million.  The House would cut nutrition by $1.6 million, community services by $1.8 million, and would totally eliminate all state funding for senior volunteer programs - $4.5 million. 

The Subcommittees are just the beginning – the next step takes place in the full Appropriations Committees in the House and Senate.  Legislators need to hear loud and strong from seniors, caregivers, providers and other advocates how these cuts will hurt frail older Michiganians, and will increase the use of costly nursing homes. 

 

What You Can Do:

Contact the Chairmen of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees (listed below) and express your concern about the devastating cuts to the Office of Services to the Aging in the Department of Community Health budget bills.  Also contact Governor Rick Snyder to express your opposition to the OSA cuts.

 

Talking points:

  • OSA services prevent seniors from going on Medicaid.
  • OSA services are extremely cost-effective. 
  • The average annual cost of OSA services (meals-on-wheels and home care) was $1,000 in FY 2010.  In contrast, a nursing home cost an average of $68,000.
  • There are over 6,000 seniors on waiting lists for OSA services like meals and home care.

 

BACKGROUND:

From 2009 – 2011, programs funded by the Office of Services to the Aging (OSA) were cut by $10 million (28%), and even more cuts are proposed for next year!

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Senior Advocacy in Action Alert

2/23/2011 2:00pm

Vulnerable seniors have been victims of the state’s budget crisis.  Totaling $2.2 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

 

What you can do:

Contact members of the House and Senate Community Health Budget Subcommittees (listed below) and ask them to oppose cuts in OSA services for seniors for next year.

 

Background:

Since fiscal year 2009, programs funded by the Office of Services to the Aging (OSA) have been cut by $10 million – a 28% loss in state funding.  And the Governor’s budget recommendations for fiscal year 2012 include even more cuts in OSA services. 

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.  

The Governor’s budget is only a recommendation - it’s the Legislature that makes budget decisions.  Your advocacy is needed to convince Michigan’s Representatives and Senators that OSA cuts are ‘penny wise and pound foolish.’ 

OSA services help seniors stay in their own homes, spend their own limited funds wisely, and stay off the Medicaid rolls.  OSA services are an important support for unpaid caregivers who are providing 80% of the assistance that frail elders receive.  Even a small amount of in-home services can prevent institutional placement.  In 2010, if the aging network’s 2,830 most at-risk clients in the community had not gotten help and were forced into nursing homes, Medicaid would have spent $191 million more on nursing home care.  In contrast, those clients were served by the aging network at a cost of $2.4 million.  

 
House Community Health Budget Subcommittee Members:
 
Senate Community Health Budget Subcommittee Members:

                                  

Talking points:
  • OSA services prevent seniors from going on Medicaid.
  • OSA services are extremely cost-effective.  The average annual cost of OSA services (meals-on-wheels and home care) was $1,000 in FY 2010.  In contrast, a nursing home cost an average of $68,000.
  • There are over 6,000 seniors on waiting lists for OSA services like meals and home care.

Comments

#1 Craig VanDerKolk said:

My father is a veteran of WWII who has suppoted this society with his hard work ethics and never taken any support and now in the last years of life deserves to live and die with dignity in his own home with people he trust in the end with some final support/help from the state to witch he calls home!

#2 Webmaster said:

Craig, many older adults choose to age in their own home and we strive to provide them with those opportunities. Advocacy on the state and federal levels is an important part of helping those services continue. We greatly appreciate the service our Veterans have provided for our country and are currently working with the VA to provide some services to Veterans in our region. If you need help connecting to resources, please contact us at aaainfo@aaawm.org. With state and federal funding cuts, it's important for our legislators to hear from those, like yourself and your father, who are passionate about helping seniors age in their own home.

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Public Invited to Share the Love for Seniors

12/21/2010 2:45am

Subaru Donations Include Facebook Campaign Tied to More Funding

Three rural Meals on Wheels programs supported by Grand Rapids-based Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan have been awarded money from the Meals on Wheels Association of America and Subaru through their ‘Share the Love’ campaign.

St. Ann’s Lake County Senior Services, Ionia County Commission on Aging and Montcalm County Commission on Aging were all awarded grants under the Subaru essay contest. The second round includes getting the most “likes” through Facebook. The essays are posted at http://mowaablog.org. The top organization will win an additional $500 and those placing 2nd through 10th will receive an additional $250.   

“The funding from the Subaru, ‘Share the Love’ campaign will help serve seniors in rural counties who may not be able to provide meals for themselves,” says Staci Shell, Nutrition Program Coordinator at Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan. “We are encouraging Facebook users to read the essays and ‘like’ the agencies so we can secure additional funding for seniors throughout West Michigan.”

Each agency plans to provide different meal related services with the funding they received from the Subaru ‘Share the Love’ contest. St. Ann’s Lake County Senior Services plans to provide a hot meal on Christmas Eve. Ionia County Commission on Aging will provide meals to seniors in the greatest need. Montcalm County Commission on Aging plans to purchase a GPS to help drivers locate home delivered meal clients easier in rural areas.

The “Share the Love” grant is tied to Subaru’s Share the Love Event.  The Share the Love Event will run from November 20, 2010 – January 3, 2011.  Subaru will donate $250 to the customer's choice of one of five charities for every new Subaru vehicle sold or leased.

The Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan, based in Grand Rapids, serves a nine county region and provides funding to various organizations to provide services, like in-home care, meals and home making services to help seniors stay in their own homes while they age.

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Medicare Donut Hole Gets Smaller

11/9/2010 2:30pm

Changes are coming for those with Medicare Part D Prescription Drug coverage. These revisions, brought about by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), include reductions in the donut hole which will cut back on costly medication expenses. The new adjustments will take effect in 2011, but decisions on coverage have to be made between November 15 and December 31.

The Part D coverage gap (donut hole) is like a second deductible in the middle of the year for those with high prescription drug costs.  In 2011 individuals will reach the coverage gap after the full costs of their prescriptions for the year reaches $2,840.

In the past, once that amount was reached, individuals would be required to pay the full cost for their prescriptions until they reached the catastrophic level of coverage.  In 2011 (because of the ACA changes) beneficiaries who reach the coverage gap will only pay 93% of the cost for their generic medications and 50% for their brand name drugs.  Each year this coverage gap will be reduced until it is completely eliminated in 2020. 

“These reductions will significantly lower beneficiary’s out-of-pocket expenses,” says Karen Rozelle, Regional Michigan Medicare/Medicaid Assistance Program (MMAP) Coordinator at the Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan.  “There still are costs for the Part D Drug plans and when comparing options, individuals need to factor in medications, co-payments, premiums and other out of pocket expenses.”

MMAP is a free program that utilizes trained volunteers to counsel Medicare beneficiaries and their families with Medicare and/or Medicaid questions. They also provide assistance with the Part D drug program process.

This year there are 35 stand-alone prescription drug plans to choose from for Michigan residents. Premiums range from $14.80 to $111.80 each month.  

“Selecting a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan can be an overwhelming process,” says Rozelle. “We encourage seniors to make their health care coverage decisions based on all the facts. Choosing a plan that does not offer the best coverage for their needs can be very costly.”

Once an individual has enrolled in a prescription drug plan, they are under that plan’s guidelines for an entire year, so this is not a choice that should be made lightly.  Rozelle recommends consulting a MMAP counselor, who is trained on what to look for and how to help individuals navigate the Medicare Prescription Drug program.

Medicare beneficiaries must consider all the medications they are currently taking. “Each plan provides different prescription coverage and it is important to include all prescriptions to ensure they are covered under the Part D plan. Not factoring in all of their medications could be a costly mistake,” says Rozelle.

Rozelle recommend reviewing your drug plan each year to see if there have been changes. “It never hurts to be informed,” she states. “Taking precautions to ensure you have the coverage you need may help prevent problems or surprises during the year.”

The ACA also includes coverage for preventative services and some new benefits to Medicare beneficiaries in 2011 like annual free wellness exams. 

MMAP operates statewide so, individuals can call 1-800-803-7174 from anywhere in Michigan and be routed to counselors in their area. Volunteers are available in the nine counties served by the Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan.

For assistance, or to set up an appointment, call MMAP at 1-800-803-7174.

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Flu Shots for Kent County Residents

9/7/2010 2:30pm

The schedule for flu shots is now available, with the first location on September 30. For more information, look in the calendar section or open the “2010_flu_shot_schedule” in the right hand column.

Flu shots are available for Kent County residents 60-64 who do not qualify for Medicare or Medicaid funded vaccinations.

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#1 Gayle Fisk said:

What about flu shots for the wife of a disabled person, whom , I , have mo medical coverage at all??? I need one but can't afford it. I got one last year at the 14 mile road health clinic in Rockford at no cost, and now they say they aren't doing that free anymore. Help

#2 Webmaster said:

Gayle, thank you for the inquiry. I have sent this information to you privately as well, but I would recommend contacting Catherine's Health Center. Their phone number is 616-336-8800 and they are located at 224 Carrier NE Grand Rapids, MI 49505.

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

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