If you have not heard the Secretary of Aging in the state of PA is proposing to make changes to the Waiver Care Management Program. The Waiver Care Management Program is currently a system whereby once COSA intake staff assesses a client and places him or her into the waiver program, the consumer or the client is assigned a care manager. This care manager is located in the local county office so in Delaware County, the care managers are in the Eddystone PA office.
Many of these care managers live locally and part of our community. The same goes for Montgomery County Adult and Aging Services as well as Chester County's Department of Aging. Each location has a set of care managers that work with seniors in their community.
These care managers go out and visit the clients, they speak with clients on the phone about their needs and they support and provide assistance to many family members as well. Some clients live alone and have no support so the local care manager visiting or calling and knowing the client makes a world of difference in the senior's life. Individuals with multiple needs may call the care manager several times a week with issues ranging from not feeling well, to having a problem understanding a service they are receiving to any issue related to their care.
For providers like Comfort Keepers, our office phone rings with concerns from clients and as a provider we feel very comfortable referring the client back to his or care manager in Eddystone. Knowing the care managers are local residents and the office is not far from ours, we can be assured that if required the care manager could visit the client and address any issues in person. Many clients suffer from loss of hearing so often it is easier to speak in person than over a phone.
If the Secretary of Aging in the state of PA enacts Act 22, the care management system could change. There will no longer be a local representation of care management. The proposed change is to hire an outside agency, one agency, to provide care management for the entire state of PA. No one seems to know where this agency will be located. This means if the agency is located in say Pittsburgh, the agency will provide care management for our COSA clients in Delaware County. The other change proposed is to have the agency provided a limited amount of care management per month to each client. Once that amount has been reached it does not matter whether it is first of month or 25th of month, the client have met his or her limit for care management.
If you feel this is something that will greatly impact your services or services of a loved one, there is a petition you can sign to help stop the enactment of Act 22. If you are interested in joining the fight or writing a letter to the Governor, please click here - http://www.change.org/petitions/governor-tom-corbett-stop-dpw-from-enacting-the-planned-regulations-which-will-harm-seniors