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Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Clinton County program helps seniors stay in their homes

June 3, 2015
Contact: Laurie Petrie, Communications Director, 513-345-3393 or C-513-616-7873

Council on Aging ends waiting list in place since 2009

The Clinton County Elderly Services Program (ESP) served 450 seniors in 2014 and ended a waiting list that had been in place since 2009, according to the program’s annual report. Clinton County ESP, which provides Meals on Wheels, housekeeping help, medical transportation, personal care (such as help with bathing), and other basic services to help older adults remain independent in their homes, is current enrolling eligible seniors with little to no wait time.

The report was prepared by Council on Aging of Southwestern Ohio (COA), which administers the Elderly Services Program under contract with Clinton County Commissioners. The full report is available on the Reports and Data page of COA's website. 

2014 program highlights
Waiting list eliminated: When Council on Aging assumed care management responsibilities for the program in February, 2014, staff immediately began contacting seniors who had been waiting for services – some had been waiting as long as 18 months. By the end of 2014, nearly all eligible seniors who still needed services were enrolled, and by early 2015, the waiting list was eliminated. Due to funding constraints, however, the program does have a capacity limit.

Cost savings through competitive bidding: Council on Aging, the program’s administrator, implemented changes within the program’s provider network, resulting in significant cost savings for the program and more consistent service delivery for clients. Through competitive bidding, COA reduced the number of contracted providers for emergency monitoring systems. In Clinton County, the estimated cost savings is more than $130,000 over five years.

Funded by Clinton County taxpayers
In March of 2012, Clinton County voters approved a renewal of a 1.5-mill senior services levy which provides most of the program’s funding. On average, the program can provide in-home care services for $250 per month, per client. These services can delay or prevent nursing home placement, where the taxpayers’ cost for Medicaid is on average $5,000 a month, according to the report.

Client profile
The program’s typical client is a woman in her 80s. She lives alone on a modest income of about $17,856 annually, from which she pays $2,460 in out-of-pocket medical costs. From ESP, she receives an electronic monitoring system, a daily home-delivered meal, and several hours a week of housekeeping help. ESP also added grab bars in her bathroom. These services, combined with help she may already receive from family or friends, is enough to help her live independently in her home.

Other highlights:

  • 55 percent of clients were age 80 or older. Average client age: 80. 
  • 73 percent of clients were female
  • 58 percent of clients lived alone
  • 79 percent of clients had annual incomes of $23,340 or less
  • 29 percent of clients helped pay for their care via a co-payment

Other services for Clinton County seniors
To better serve older adults and people with disabilities in Clinton County, COA opened an office in Wilmington in 2014. The office is located at 2241 Rombach Ave and provides workspace for the Elderly Services Program staff as well as other COA staff serving residents who receive in-home care services through other programs.

Clinton County seniors are also served by other Council on Aging programs:

  • PASSPORT and the Assisted Living Waiver are in-home and community-based care options for Medicaid-eligible adults and seniors. These programs served 88 Clinton County residents during FFY 2014. 
  • The Ohio Home Care Waiver is an in-home care option for Medicaid-eligible children and adults (under age 60) who have significant disabilities and/or mental health needs. COA served 36 Clinton County residents in FFY 2014. 
  • MyCare Ohio is a managed care program that coordinates health care, behavioral health services, and long-term care services and supports for Ohioans who receive both Medicare and Medicaid. MyCare Ohio went into effect June 1, 2014. COA served 98 Clinton County MyCare Ohio members in FFY 2014. 
  • Care Transitions is COA’s health coaching program for hospitalized adults age 60 and over. The program works to prevent unnecessary and costly hospital readmissions and emergency department visits. Since 2012, more than 10,000 patients from nine regional hospitals have participated, including Clinton Memorial Hospital. 
  • Council on Aging’s Aging and Disability Resource Center (call center) responded to more than 37,000 inquiries for help in FFY 2014. 
  • Through Title III of the Older Americans Act, Council on Aging administers funding for senior centers and organizations that provide services such as transportation, meals, caregiver support, legal help and wellness education. In Clinton County these funds help pay for transportation, meals and other activities offered by the Wilmington Savings Bank Clinton County Senior Center.

The state of aging in Clinton County
For the first time in US history, people age 65 and older outnumber children under age five. In general, three factors play a role in determining whether or not we will need care: age, disability and income. In Clinton County, according to the 2010 U.S. Census:

  • 13.5 percent of the population is age 65 and older
  • 38.2 percent of people age 65+ have a disability
  • At least 15.1 percent have incomes at or below 125 percent of the poverty threshold (2014 Federal Poverty Level for one person = $11,670. 125 percent of Poverty Level = $14,588).

About Council on Aging
Council on Aging of Southwestern Ohio (COA) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to enhancing quality of life for older adults, people with disabilities, their families and caregivers.

We promote choice, independence, dignity and well-being through a range of services that help people remain in their homes for as long as possible.

COA is a state-designated Area Agency on Aging, serving a 21-county region. One call to COA links people to the wide variety of agencies, information and programs that serve older adults and people with disabilities.

175 Tri County Parkway, Cincinnati, OH 45246
513-721-1025 Toll-free 1-800-252-0155
www.help4seniors.org

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