The Generation Project






Indiana gets $21 million over 5 years for senior alternatives


January 26, 2007

South Bend Tribune



INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- The state has received a $21 million federal grant to be used over the next five years to pay for home health care, assisted living and other services needed by senior citizens moving out of nursing homes, the state's human services chief said Friday.

The Family and Social Services Administration received the funds from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to mark the success of a Division of Aging program called Options that was created to offer seniors alternatives to traditional nursing, Secretary Mitch Roob said.

Alternatives such as home health care, assisted living, adult foster care, and adult day services allows seniors to maintain some independence in their living while having access to services they may need.

''The home-based or community-based care model is the future, and although nursing homes will always be appropriate for some seniors, we are finding that more and more seniors enjoy the independence of community-based care,'' Roob said in a prepared statement.

Roob announced the grant Friday during the dedication of a new adult day services center in Indianapolis.

FSSA announced last June that it was implementing a law passed in 2003 that required it to make home- and community-based long-term care for elderly and disabled Hoosiers as accessible as nursing-home care. Late Gov. Frank O'Bannon signed the law, but FSSA did not implement it during his administration or that of his successor, former Gov. Joe Kernan, because of the high upfront costs.

Historically, Medicaid financial eligibility criteria had favored traditional nursing home care over alternative services until the state created uniform financial eligibility criteria that applied to alternative services, too.

The grant should give seniors and Hoosiers of all ages with disabilities a better chance to get home health care and community-based care, said John Cardwell, the director of the Generations Project, which advocates on long-term care issues.

He said it will help families and the state's economy by allowing people to decide whether to stay in their homes and communities or go to a nursing home or other care facility.

''They're going to pick what's best for them and that allows the dollars to be more cost effective. And when you use these kinds of dollars in a cost-effective way, you're able to serve more people,'' Cardwell said.