Posts Tagged ‘services’

As Senior Population Swells, State Needs to Lift Moratorium on Adult Day Care

Thursday, May 31st, 2012

As Senior Population Swells, State Needs to Lift Moratorium on Adult Day Care

 By Roberto Muñiz, President and CEO, The Francis E. Parker Memorial Home Inc.

 The NJ Department of Health and Human Services has documented the many financial abuses in the adult day care system, reporting numerous providers who have scammed Medicaid to reap small fortunes off the backs of taxpayers.

Negative stories abound in the media:   Day care providers telling the elderly to lie to state investigators about their needs, people with disabilities placed in wheelchairs when they are able to walk, and even one case where a client with alleged heart failure and severe asthma was spotted cutting the center’s grass.  All these examples illustrate the extent that unscrupulous providers will go to collect Medicaid payments.  

With investigators suspecting that nearly one-third of the state’s adult day care centers committed some form of Medicaid fraud, according to published reports, it was no surprise that the state stopped issuing new licenses for adult day care centers in 2008. And, in an April 16th decision, that moratorium will be in place until at least November 1st of this year.

But while the NJ Department of Health and Human Services remains hesitant to allow any new centers to open, the demand in New Jersey for home and community-based long term care services is growing and adult day care is a cost effective option.

 Adult day care centers, if operated honestly and ethically, are enormously beneficial.  They make life easier for older New Jerseyans, giving them a safe and supportive place to receive quality care throughout the day.  Services vary among centers, but include medical care, stimulating activities and exercise, and nutritious meals and snacks.  They also provide transportation within a designated service area, making care and support accessible, and give caregivers, such as a spouse or child, a break from 24-hour-a-day care.

 Center staff is trained to monitor medical issues and communicate changes in health to caregivers.  For example, a scratchy throat or a fever could ultimately become a costly stay in a hospital if left untreated. Having a hot, fresh, nutritious lunch supports a daily balanced diet minimizing risk of dehydration or malnourishment.  An engaging walk with friends around the grounds can replace another inactive hour in front of a television.

Adult care centers, which receive $78.50 a day from Medicaid for each person served, are saving taxpayers a small fortune. Consider this: if not for these adult day care centers, many more seniors would be placed in skilled nursing homes, where the government would be spending significantly more to care for them, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  Aside from cost, adult day centers honor every senior’s wish to remain home for as long as possible.

  Around New Jersey there are a variety of adult day programs.  At Parker, we offer two types, supporting both the social and medical needs of seniors.   The social program available five hours each weekday is for socially isolated elderly, who need motivation and support to maintain an active lifestyle while managing aging issues. Participants benefit from the wellness center, take in a movie, use the hair salon, attend rehabilitation therapy and engage in a host of other stimulating activities. 

 We also offer a medical program, available eight hours each weekday that provides health services, such as monitoring glucose levels, managing medications and providing clinical support for elderly with functional or cognitive challenges. Additionally, the program provides many activities that support the social and emotional needs of participants. 

 In addition to the much needed respite from the challenges of daily caregiving, Parker offers supportive education to caregiver families and assistance with long-term care options as participant needs grow.   

 The time is now for New Jersey officials to plot a future for adult day care, as statistics show there are now 1.13 million seniors living in the state and the numbers are quickly growing. As the Baby Boomers age and hundreds of thousands of New Jerseyans require care, there will be an enormous burden placed on the system.

  We are grateful that the state identified the unethical sources of fraud in adult day health services, and put corrective actions in place.  Now it’s time for state officials to lift the moratorium on new adult day centers, so that more high quality adult day programs can become available. 

 As the state is encouraging long-term care funding to move to home-and-community based services, supporting the growth of adult day programs makes fiscal sense andis the right thing to do for a growing demographic of New Jerseyans who want to remain at home with the support of affordable community resources.  

Roberto Muñiz, MPA, LNHA, FACHCA

President and CEO, The Francis E. Parker Memorial Home, Inc.

 Roberto Muñiz has more than 20 years of senior executive experience with health care and long-term care service providers.   In addition to his current role as Present and CEO of Parker, Mr. Muñiz is extensively engaged in leadership positions with several New Jersey state and national associations that foster the availability and quality of aging servicesMr. Muñiz holds a bachelor’s degree in public health administration and master’s degree in public administration from Rutgers University. He is a licensed nursing home administrator (LNHA) in both New Jersey and New York states.

Roberto Muñiz is the Chair of the Board of Trustees of the New Jersey Foundation for Aging, Inc. 

FYI- Best Intergenerational Community Awards

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

Best Intergenerational Community Awards

Generations United and MetLife Foundation will recognize up to 5 communities with the first-ever Best Intergenerational Communities Awards. Generations United is the national membership organization focused solely on improving the lives of children, youth, and older people through intergenerational strategies, programs, and public policies.  You can find out more about them at www.gu.org. MetLife Foundation is the charitable arm of MetLife and makes grants in health, education, civic affairs and culture.

Generations United and MetLife will select communities based on standard criteria that take into account a community’s own demographics, services, programs and organizational structure. Communities will be recognized for their specific intergenerational successes and will not be compared to other applicants. The winning communities will be awarded with a public recognition event in Washington, DC including visits with members of Congress, national and local media exposure, a profile on Generations United’s website, publicity through Generations United’s social media outlets (Facebook and Twitter), and recognition at the 2013 Generations United International Conference. The winners will also receive an award logo for us on websites and other materials and a physical award to recognize the accomplishment. Technical assistance on intergenerational practice and advocacy with Generations United will be available to the award recipients.

An intergenerational community is not just one where multiple generations reside. It is one where individuals of all ages are an integral and valued part of the setting. They have provided the following definitions as guidance:

“Communities” refers to geographic areas with defined borders and resident populations for which reliable demographic data is available. This could mean metropolitan areas, cities, towns, counties, zip   codes, neighborhoods and school districts. Individual organizations or living/care facilities are not alone  eligible for this recognition.

“Intergenerational communities” refers to place that (1) provide adequately for safety, health,   education and the basic necessities of life, (2) promote programs, policies, and practices that increase  cooperation, interaction, and exchange between people of different generations, and (3) enables all ages to share their talents and resources, and support each other in relationships that benefit both individuals and their community.

Generations United and MetLife Foundation are looking for this perspective to be reflected in the families, structures, facilities and services that children and older adults encounter in the community as well as in day-to-day interactions and relationships. Partnerships between local government, senior citizen homes, schools, businesses, local cultural and community organizations and services, families, older adults and children are essential to be considered intergenerational. An intergenerational community builds on the positive resources that each generation has to offer to each other and those around them. It also advances policies and practices that both acknowledge and promote intergenerational interdependence.

Who is eligible to apply? Communities that meet the above description. The application may be completed by any community member but must be completed in coordination with a local official (i.e. government official, Neighborhood Association President, County Executive, etc) and must be verified and signed by the official.

Application deadline is January 31, 2012, late submissions will not be considered. Applications and letters of support should be emailed to gu@gu.org

Applications will be reviewed in February by an expert panel who will be evaluating applications based on pre-determined criteria. Successful applicants will be notified later in February. The public recognition event will take place in Washington DC in March 2012.

For more information and to download the application visit: http://www2.gu.org/OURWORK/Programs/BestIntergenerationalCommunitiesAwards.aspx

Preventive Services

Friday, June 24th, 2011

Preventive Services

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released a new report showing that more than 5 million Americans with traditional Medicare – or nearly one in six people with Medicare – took advantage of one or more of the recommended preventive benefits now available for free because of the Affordable Care Act.   Medicare wants to raise awareness about all of the important preventive benefits now covered at no charge to patients, including the new Annual Wellness Visit benefit created by the Affordable Care Act.  

 “I am committed to ensuring that the Medicare beneficiaries we serve are aware of and take advantage of their Medicare preventive benefits.” Assistant Secretary for Aging Kathy Greenlee.

According to the report, over 5.5 million beneficiaries in traditional Medicare used one or more of the preventive benefits now covered. The covered services do not have co pays and include mammograms, bone density screenings, and screenings for prostate cancer. 

In 2011, Medicare began covering an Annual Wellness Visit at no cost to Medicare beneficiaries.  As part of that visit, beneficiaries and their physicians can review the patient’s health and develop a personalized wellness plan.  Over 780,000 beneficiaries received an Annual Wellness Visit between January 1 and June 10. Additionally, more seniors have used the Welcome to Medicare Exam this year. The Welcome to Medicare is a one-time preventive health exam available to enrollees in the first 12 months they have Part B.  66,302 beneficiaries had taken advantage of the benefit by the end of May 2011, compared to 52,654 beneficiaries at the same point in 2010 – a 26 percent increase.

The new annual wellness visit can help spark the beginning of an ongoing conversation between patients and their doctors on how to prevent disease and disability.  Patients should take advantage of this time by reviewing their histories and making sure their primary care doctor knows about their other providers and prescriptions. They can also talk about the pros and cons of getting an influenza, pneumococcal or hepatitis B vaccination, or find out whether a diabetes test, a bone mass measurement, or any of several cancer screenings would be right for them.  Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, Medicare now covers many of these services without cost to patients.

  You can find additional information on prevention benefits on line at www.Medicare.gov, and at www.healthcare.gov