Press Release

Governor Scott Recommends a $33 Million Increase to Serve Florida Elders

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 29, 2014

CONTACT:  Ashley Marshall

marshalla@elderaffairs.org

850-414-2142

 Governor Scott Recommends a $33 Million Increase to Serve Florida Elders

~ Enriching Seniors Initiative Will Remove Thousands from the Waitlists and Expand Programs that Help Florida’s Most Vulnerable Seniors ~ 

Governor Rick Scott of Florida

Governor Rick Scott of Florida

TALLAHASSEE – Today, Department of Elder Affairs Secretary Charles T. Corley praised Governor Scott’s 2014-2015 “It’s Your Money Tax Cut Budget” recommendations, which includes an overall increase of more than $33 million to support Florida elders most in need of care through the Governor’s Enriching Seniors Initiative.

Secretary Corley said, “Through his Enriching Seniors Initiative, the Governor is providing funding to reduce waitlists for our frailest elders in need of services, expand programs that protect impoverished elders needing guardianship, and protect the welfare and rights of long-term care residents. Governor Scott has made clear his priorities to support Florida’s most vulnerable seniors, and this money will do enormous good on their behalf.”

Statewide Medicaid Managed Care Long-Term Care Program

The Governor’s recommendation includes a $19.6 million increase to remove the frailest 1,280 elders and adults with disabilities from the waitlist for services under the Statewide Medicaid Managed Care Long-Term Care (SMMC LTC) Program. The program provides comprehensive long-term care services through a uniform statewide program to frail elders and adults with disabilities who qualify for Medicaid nursing facility level of care. Since the program was implemented, six of the Department’s Planning and Service Areas (PSAs) have been transitioned into the new program (approximately 50,000 individuals), including Miami-Dade County with the largest number of clients.

Alzheimer’s Disease Initiative

The Governor’s Enriching Seniors Initiative also includes an additional $4 million for the Alzheimer’s Disease Initiative (ADI) to provide services for almost 400 individuals who are at risk for nursing home placement and are currently on the waitlist for home and community-based services. ADI services and supports are provided to caregivers and individuals diagnosed with or suspected of having Alzheimer’s disease or other related memory disorders that interfere with activities of daily living. ADI provides respite care services, and caregivers can receive supportive services, such as training and support groups, that are essential to caring for persons with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementias.

Community Care for the Elderly

Additionally, Governor Scott is calling for a $4 million increase to serve approximately 600 individuals waiting for assistance through the Department’s Community Care for the Elderly (CCE) program. CCE is a unique service delivery model for frail elders who are at risk for nursing home placement but not yet Medicaid-eligible to receive community-based services organized in a continuum of care in the least restrictive, most cost effective environment to meet their individual needs. Services may include adult day care, case management, home-delivered meals, and transportation, to name a few.

Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program

The Governor’s Enriching Seniors Initiative also recommends a budget increase of $3 million for the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program (LTCOP), a volunteer-driven program that advocates for the health, safety, welfare, and rights of residents in long-term care facilities. Volunteer ombudsmen perform assessments and visitations at all long-term care facilities and investigate complaints.

There are more than 4,000 long-term care facilities and an increasing number of long-term care residents in Florida. The Governor’s budget increase will expand the visibility of the resident-focused program, grow the volunteer ranks, and subsequently increase the number of ombudsmen visits to each facility. Volunteer ombudsmen help the residents and administrators work together to resolve issues before they result in more costly regulatory referrals. This additional funding will help the program’s outreach and volunteer recruitment efforts to ensure it has enough ombudsmen to advocate on behalf of the welfare of the growing long-term care resident population.

Statewide Public Guardianship Office

Governor Scott is recommending an additional $3 million for the Statewide Public Guardianship Office (SPGO), which is responsible for designating Florida’s public guardians who serve needy elders who lack the capacity to make their own decisions and have no willing or able family member to act as their guardian. The office is also responsible for the education and registration of all professional guardians in Florida.

In January 2013, the office only had contracts for public guardianship coverage in 27 of Florida’s 67 counties. In less than one year, the Department accomplished full coverage in all 67 counties. With the exception of Delaware, Florida is the only state to have public guardianship coverage in every county. The Governor’s budget increase will be used to complete and fund the statewide expansion of the program and provide guardianship services based on need.

To view Governor Scott’s complete “It’s Your Money Tax Cut Budget” recommendations, please visit http://flitsyourmoney.com/HomeFY15.htm


What They Are Saying About Governor Scott’s “It’s Your Money Tax Cut Budget”

 

Statewide Public Guardianship Office (SPGO)

Karen Campbell, Executive Director, Office of the Public Guardian, Inc.

“This is the first time that comprehensive statewide public guardianship has been achieved in every county in the state. The Governor’s funding will enable programs such as ours to serve the senior and disabled populations who have no family, limited financial means, and are unable to hire a private guardian. Our network has worked tirelessly to raise awareness of this critical issue, and I am thrilled that Governor Scott continues to support us as we serve those most in need.“

 

Scott Greenberg, President, Florida State Guardianship Association

“The Statewide Public Guardianship Office, through their programs, meets a critical need for the vulnerable citizens of our state who are in need of a guardian. I commend the Governor for his commitment to fulfilling these needs.”

 

Melinda Coulter, Chairperson, Foundation for Indigent Guardianship, Inc.

“On behalf of the Foundation, we are pleased to support Governor Scott in his efforts to fund public guardianship programs across Florida. These programs serve our most vulnerable citizens in every county in Florida, and we have been able to expand utilizing non-recurring funds. Governor Scott’s recommended increase will support the continued expansion of these critical statewide services.”

 

Nick Barton, Executive Director, AGED Trust, Inc.

“Through this funding, it is clear that Governor Scott recognizes Florida’s tremendous need for public guardianship programs. This significant increase will allow us to help elders who have nowhere else to turn. I am so pleased that AGED Trust Inc. can continue to partner with the public guardianship program to accomplish their great mission.”

 

Winsor Schmidt, Foremost National Authority on Public Guardianship Issues

“This is exciting news for the public guardianship program’s continued expansion. Florida represents the demographic future of an aging America and likely represents the prospective national need for public guardianship. Florida is at the forefront in public guardianship expansion, and other states would do well to follow Florida’s initiative.”

 

Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program

Chester Spellman, Chief Executive Officer, Volunteer Florida

“The Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program is a highly successful volunteer-run program that plays a critical role in Florida communities. These dollars will further expand the volunteer base of this great program and will have a tremendous statewide impact.” 

 

Neil Giroux, Chairman of the Advocacy Workgroup of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman State Council & Southwest Florida District Ombudsman

“I am pleased with the Governor’s budget increase for the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program. While the program’s volunteer numbers continue to increase, so does the population that we serve. It is important that we continue to expand our reach and grow the volunteer ranks to positively affect and advocate for Florida’s long-term care residents.”

 

Community Care for the Elderly (CCE)

LuMarie Polivka, President, Florida Council on Aging

“With this budget recommendation and commitment to this program, it is evident that Governor Scott understands the benefits of CCE for frail elders and that providing these services will delay or prevent nursing home placement or the more costly need for Medicaid services.”

 

Robert Beck, Advocate for Florida Seniors

“I applaud Governor Scott for his leadership and vision today for recommending a $4 million increase for the Community Care for the Elderly Program that will help frail, low-income seniors who do not qualify for Medicaid, to receive critical services including home-delivered meals, personal care, transportation, and other assistance so they may remain at home safely and with dignity and avoid or delay the need for more costly nursing home care. Governor Scott’s budget recommendations to increase funding for Florida’s General Revenue-funded home care programs means that seniors will get the help they need while Floridian’s tax dollars are wisely spent on programs delivering quality, value, and compassionate care.”

 

Bill Aycrigg, President & CEO, CARES (Community Aging & Retirement Services, Inc.)

“With this increase in funding for CCE, Governor Scott has made a strong step forward for frail elders in the state of Florida, enabling them to maintain their independence and stay at home.”

 

Alzheimer’s Disease Initiative 

Christine Lecher Powers, Chair, Alzheimer’s Disease Advisory Committee & Director of Adult Day Services for CARES (Community Aging and Retirement Services, Inc.)

“Governor Scott has recognized the critical need for respite services for the selfless caregivers of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease. I commend him for his continued support of our efforts.”

 

Ronald Davis, Caregiver Representative on Florida’s Purple Ribbon Task Force

“Respite care is the most significant service to a caregiver supporting a loved one at home. I commend Governor Scott for this funding increase which will have a significant effect on caregivers in Florida.”

 

Statewide Medicaid Managed Care (SMMC LTC)

Audrey S. Brown, President & CEO, Florida Association of Health Plans

“This investment from Governor Scott demonstrates his continued commitment to this managed care service delivery model and the population it serves.”

 

José R. Fox, President & CEO, United Home Care

We are very pleased with the Governor’s recommendations for this program that enables providers to serve the frailest population in need of care through SMMC.

For more information on the Florida Department of Elder Affairs, please visit elderaffairs.state.fl.us

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