Archive for June, 2010

More about NJFA’s 12th Annual Conference!

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

Offering welcoming remarks at the New Jersey Foundation for Aging’s conference this year was Patricia Polansky, Assistant Commissioner from the Dept. of Health and Senior Services.  We were pleased to have Pat join us and kick off the day! Her remarks began with comments about the budget and fiscal concerns for the State. However, the Assistant Commissioner transitioned to big changes coming to NJ as a result of Healthcare reform. Ms. Polansky advised that as a result of President Obama signing into law the healthcare reform bill, also known as the Affordable Care Act, “$60 million in grants are being made available for states to help individuals and their caregivers better understand and navigate their health and long-term care options”.  Adding, “the purpose of this grant program authorized by the Affordable Care Act is to create streamlined, coordinated statewide systems of information, counseling and access that will help people find consumer-friendly answers they seek to meet their health and long-term care needs”.

The Assistant Commissioner went on the describe what NJ is already doing, “New Jersey has achieved excellent results in building on existing programs and implementing new approaches for supporting home and community based services”. Pat was referring to the Independence, Dignity and Choice in Long-Term Care Act, stating that, “the state’s long-term care funding structure is being adjusted to provide more options for older adults through budgetary rebalancing”. She followed up this statement by pointing out that there is a growing population of older and disabled persons who desire to stay at home with care rather than going into a nursing home, she stated that policy changes have been made to support that.

Pat added, “The State’s effort to expand home and community based services options for individuals who qualify for Medicaid Institutional Care, started with consolidating 3 Medicaid Waiver Programs into a single line item now know as Global Options for Long-Term Care. Pat added, “we have seen an increase of 1,840 or 23% more participants served; yet well within the SFY 2010 budget”.  She informed the crowd that GO serves 10,000 aging and disabled clients, but that is was actually a cost savings.  She pointed out to the audience, “The average Medicaid rate for a NJ nursing home is $63,541 per year, whereas the annual cost is $17,112 for the Medicaid Waiver, Global Options. Clearly this demonstrates a more cost-effective approach”.

The conference attendees were glad to have heard these valuable updates from the Assistant Commissioner. Many people came up to us during the day to say how wonderful it was to have the Assistant Commissioner share these details with the group.

We hope you have also found this synopsis of the remarks offered by the Assistant Commissioner helpful and informative, please stay tuned for more details and excerpts from the conference.

NJFA 12th Annual Conference!

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

On June 10, 2010 the New Jersey Foundation for Aging hosted its 12th Annual Conference. There were more than 200 people in attendance at this year’s conference. There were professionals from senior centers, County Offices on Aging, Senior Housing, Assisted Livings, and other community organizations. They all gathered at the Crowne Plaza in Monroe to listen to our morning keynote provided by Donna Butts at Generations United, which focused on shared sites and how they benefit the community through intergenerational services. The conference participants were enthusiastic about Donna’s presentation.

In the afternoon, the group received words of advice on advocating for seniors and updates regarding the reauthorization of the Older Americans Act from Bob Blancato. The crowd was encouraged by Bob’s words and asked terrific follow up questions regarding ways they can make a difference in their community.

The breakout sessions for the conference consisted of Music and Your Brain, a session by Dr. Concetta Tomaino on the effects of music therapy on those suffering from cognitive disorders such as Parkinsons, Alzheimer’s and stroke; Managing Chronic Disease featuring community programs which are finding new ways to help seniors with chronic illness through education; The Legal and Ethical Response to Elder Abuse, during which professionals from Adult Protective Services provided valuable information about how the system works, how to identify elder abuse and what legal and ethical dilemmas could be faced. Please stay tuned to the NJFA Blog for more details on all of these sessions and more.

NJFA would like to THANK all of our sponsors and vendors for the day: Novo Nordisk, Thomas and Theresa Berry Foundation, Novartis Pharmaceuticals, Horizon Blue Cross/Blue Shield of NJ, Harmony Information Systems, The Wallerstein Foundation for the Improvement of Geriatric Life, Society on Aging of NJ, NJ Association of Area Agencies on Aging, NJ Association of Senior Center Directors, Roche Genetech, Francis E. Parker Memorial Home, CST Your Link to Life, Wedgewood Gardens, OceanFirst Bank, AMRamp, Heath Village, Visiting Physicians, Wells Fargo, GA Foods, Springpoint Foundation, Senior Care Management, Disability Rights NJ and Seniors4Kids.