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Thank you for your advocacy!

6/2/2011 4:07pm

The “Thrill of Victory” is how Mary Ablan, Executive Director of the Michigan Association of Area Agencies on Aging, described it. In a significant turnaround, funding for home delivered meals and other home care programs in the Office of Services to the Aging (OSA) FY’12 Budget were restored to current levels.

So why were these programs spared deep cuts while a long list of other state programs were reduced, including K-12 education, universities, community colleges, welfare payments, corrections, mental health, public health, and revenue sharing?

According to Mary Ablan, an avalanche of emails, phone calls, letters and face-to-face visits by aging advocates convinced state legislators and administration officials to restore OSA cuts that at one point were in the 15% to 18% range and some volunteers programs were slated for elimination. It clearly was one of the most impressive advocacy campaigns in aging network history.

Our thanks to those advocates who took the time and made the extra effort to contact a state elected official. Your deep commitment and dedication to programs that help older adults remain independent truly made a difference!

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Senior Advocacy in Action Alert

5/6/2011 12:00am

House reduces senior services funding. Now is the time to contact state Legislators and encourage them to protect seniors services.

This week on the floor, the full House restored cuts to the Office of Services to the Aging for meals & community services, and eliminated all funding for the three senior volunteer programs.  These were the same cuts that came out of the House DCH Subcommittee.  Here are the specific cuts:

  • $1, 581,700 (18%) – senior meals
  • $1,835,000 (15%)  – community services
  • $627,300 (100%) – RSVP
  • $2,233,600 (100%) – Foster Grandparents
  • $1,604,400 (100%) – Senior Companions

Due to procedural maneuvers there was no roll call vote on the OSA cuts. 

This is very disappointing – however, here is what you can do now:

Send messages to the following, who are likely members of the conference committee, asking that OSA cuts in aging programs be restored.

Sen. Roger Kahn senrkahn@senate.michigan.gov 

   (866) 305-2132

Sen. John Moolenaar senjmoolenaar@senate.michigan.gov 

    (517) 373-7946

Sen. Vince Gregory  senvgregory@senate.michigan.gov   

   (517) 373-7888

Rep. Chuck Moss  chuckmoss@house.mi.gov  

   (877) 707-6677

Rep. Matt Lori   mattlori@house.mi.gov   

   (877) 262-5959

Rep. Rashida Tlaib  rashidatlaib@house.mi.gov    

    (877) 852-4212

Here are more talking points you can use:

  • 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:

Will the cuts ever end???  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!

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

The Senate has approved an OSA budget with no cuts in senior meals, keeping the cuts in community services, and increasing the cuts in volunteer programs to $670,000.  The House has approved a very different version that increased cuts in senior meals ($1.6 million) and community services ($1.8 million), and totally eliminated funding for three senior volunteer programs – RSVP, Foster Grandparents and Senior Companions ($4.4 million total). 

The next step is a joint House-Senate Conference Committee that will work out the differences.  

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Senior Advocacy in Action Alert

4/28/2011 9:30am

Advocacy needed today!

Our advocacy is having an impact. Yesterday, the House Appropriations Committee voted to restore almost $8 million in cuts to senior meals, community services and volunteer programs in the OSA budget.  Rep. Al Pscholka (R-Stevensville) recruited three other GOP colleagues to muster enough winning votes to pass an amendment introduced by Rep. Joan Bauer (D-Lansing).

The full House is taking up the Community Health budget bill today.  Amendments can be introduced at this point as well and we need to make sure that the cuts are not put back in!

Please send short emails right away to the key legislators below and urge them to maintain funding for OSA/aging services in the Community Health budget bill.  

 

Here are a few more talking points you could add to your message:

  • 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.

Send messages now!

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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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Medicare Physician Reimbursement

1/10/2011 11:15am

In early December, the House followed the Senate in voting to delay the Medicare Physicians Reimbursement Rate cut. This was signed by the President and will delay the cuts for another twelve months.

Thank you all for your advocacy efforts which helped prevent the cuts from becoming a reality. Passage of the reimbursement reduction would have been harmful to seniors as more physicians would stop accepting new Medicare patients.

The Congressional Budget Office has indicated that the extension will cost $15 billion.

Advocates are hopeful that lawmakers will review and make changes to how the reimbursements are funded in order to correct the problem.

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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

6/16/2010 3:45pm

Ask legislators to fund OSA services for 2011 at the same level as 2010 and to support the Senate version of the MI Choice budget for 2011.

We need your help! The Conference Committee making the final decisions on the Department of Community Health budget (SB 1152) has begun deliberations. The Committee members will decide on funding for two critical areas for seniors – MI Choice and Office of Services to the Aging. Please contact them to preserve funding for senior services.

 

Background: 

Support for the Senate version of the MI Choice budget for 2011: The MI Choice Medicaid Waiver program provides home care services to people in lieu of nursing home placement at less than a third of the cost. As a result of MI Choice and other home care programs such as those provided through the Office of Services to the Aging, nursing home expenditures declined last year for the second year in a row. Savings to the state in 2009 are estimated at $30-$40 million, and because of this proven savings, the Senate has recommended increasing the MI Choice Medicaid Waiver budget to $196 million for the 2011 budget year.

Fund OSA services for 2011 at the same level as 2010:  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 is considering another cut of 8% for 2011, an aggregate cut of 26%. 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.  Last year, $4 million in OSA services saved Medicaid $140 million! We are not asking for an increase, just no further cuts.

 

Following are the legislators on the Conference Committee making the final decisions on the Department of Community Health budget (SB 1152), including OSA and MI Choice.

Chair:  Senator Roger Kahn  

senrkahn@senate.michigan.gov  517-  373-1760

Sen John Pappageorge 

senjpappageorge@sentate.michigan.gov 517-373-7350

Sen Deb Cherry 

sendcherry@senate.mi.gov  517-373-1637

Rep Gary McDowell  

garymcdowell@house.mi.gov 517-373-2629

Rep George Cushingberry

georgecushingberry@house.mi.gov  517-373-2276

Rep Kevin Green

kevingreen@house.mi.gov 517-373-2277

It is always helpful to also contact your own legislators, as well as the Senate and House leadership:

Sen Mike Bishop, Majority Leader, senmbishop@senate.michigan.gov 517-373-2417

Sen Mike Prusi, Minority Leader, senmprusi@senate.michigan.gov 517-373-7840

Rep Andy Dillon, Speaker of the House, andydillon@house.mi.gov 517-373-0857

Rep Kevin Elsenheimer, Minority Leader, kevinelsenheimer@house.mi.gov 517-373-0829

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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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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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