Hamilton County Elderly Services Program temporarily closed to new enrollments

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Hamilton County Elderly Services Program is temporarily closed to all new enrollments as of March 10, 2014.

In order to control costs, COA began managing enrollment by starting a waiting list for the program in June 2013. Managed enrollment included a triage policy that allowed for some people to get onto the program who met certain emergency criteria. Now, the triage policy is suspended.

We expect the closure to last several months. If costs decrease, we hope to be able to reinstate the triage policy before the end of this year. Meanwhile, the waiting list will continue indefinitely.

We very much regret having to close the program, but unfortunately, costs have remained high despite efforts to contain them.  We would have faced a deficit if we had not taken strong action. The Elderly Services Program is funded by a county tax levy and funds are limited. By law, the county cannot incur a deficit in the levy funding.

Even the triaged enrollments were too much.  The change in eligibility criteria has made fewer people eligible for the program, but they are more frail than clients in the past and our care plan costs have been higher. We are continuing to identify opportunities for cost savings that will allow us to re-open enrollment.

COA’s Aging and Disability Resource Connections (ADRC) continues to screen callers and place people on the waiting list. Callers receive a letter explaining the situation and encouraging them to seek other options through ADRC or via our online Resource Directory.

ADRC also asks callers whether they would like to consider paying privately for services, if possible, and can give people lists of providers by type of service.

A waiting list has also existed for many years for the Elderly Services Program in Clinton County. There is no waiting list for the program in Butler or Warren counties.