COA whittles back waiting list for Hamilton County Elderly Services Program

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Several months ago, more than 1,000 seniors were on the waiting list for the Hamilton County Elderly Services Program, but, as of mid-May, Council on Aging had reduced the number to 337. The typical wait time is now approximately three months. Exceptions are made for individuals who meet certain emergency criteria.

"We achieved this by contacting every single person on the list to get information on their current situation," said program manager Kim Clark. "We were able to remove the names of people who no longer needed the program. Sometimes their health declined and they went to a nursing home or, for others, their health improved. In some cases, we found emergency situations and we were able to expedite enrollment."

Due to excessive demand, COA had to begin managing enrollment in Hamilton County ESP by establishing a waiting list beginning in June 2013. Enrollment and financial projections showed the program to be at risk of incurring a deficit within the current levy period (2012-17) if COA did not take action to reduce client census and costs. At one point, the program even closed for several months in order to drop the census via attrition. 

In tandem with reducing the waiting list, Clark has had a goal of increasing the census or number of seniors enrolled in the program at any given time. She and her staff of ESP care managers have surpassed the goal by enrolling people off the waiting list as quickly as possible, while controlling overall care plan costs. As of mid-May, the program census was 4,170.

“I’m very proud of the team,” Clark said. “At one point, each of the care managers took on an additional 10 cases in one week.”

Click here to learn more about the Hamilton County Elderly Services program.