House Bill 1566 and Senate Bill 752 will result in a reduction in meals served to Oklahoma’s most vulnerable adults who are at risk of nursing home placement, according to Ken Jones, Chair of the Oklahoma Association of Area Agencies on Aging (O4A). Passage of these bills is expected to end the Medicaid ADvantage managed care program. If ADvantage is ended the result will be a reduction in funding to Title III nutrition sites who are already facing budget cuts in the coming fiscal year due to Oklahoma’s $611 million budget shortfall. The impact of this new legislation combined with the budget shortfall will result in waiting lists for Title III meals as well as closure of several smaller rural sites.
“The legislation that state lawmakers recently passed is expected to end the ADvantage home and community based services waiver that is keeping hundreds of senior citizens out of nursing homes,” Jones said. “When seniors have access to meals through nutrition sites studies show they are able to stay independent longer.”
The Fine Print
According to Jones, both bills required the Oklahoma Health Care Authority to publish requests for proposals for Medicaid services related to at least the populations currently served by the ADvantage program. Neither bill contained much more substance than that.
- There were no mitigations for the current ADvantage populations.
- Neither bill addressed the utilization of existing resources in the new model.
- Both bills will result in higher costs in order to build a new program model at a time of a budget shortfall.
- Neither bill accounted for the current financial limitations of the Older Americans Act programs.
- Both bills could create an influx of seniors in nursing homes.
- Both bills create increased demand on an already strained Older Americans Act network.
- What will happen to Medicaid funding for senior nutrition that is currently provided through the ADvantage program?
- What will be done to mitigate the loss in services for those currently eligible for ADvantage who will not be eligible for long-term services and supports provided by MCOs?
- How many meals will be lost as a result of this change?
- Will there be additional support for the Older Americans Act services to mitigate the influx of additional seniors in need of services who are no longer eligible for long-term care services and supports? (Especially in light of expected budget cuts in state funding this year.)
And, most importantly will the Area Agencies on Aging have a seat at the table to ensure senior nutrition programs remain intact?
Please call or email your legislators today and tell them you want Oklahoma’s Area Agencies on Aging to have a seat at the decision-making table. Help keep Oklahoma’s senior citizens out of nursing homes for as long as possible. To find your legislators’ email addresses and phone numbers visit the “FIND YOUR REP” section of the O4A website.
O4A Board of Directors
Don Hudman, Areawide Aging Agency, Oklahoma City
Ken Jones, ASCOG AAA, Duncan (Chair)
John Shea, COEDD AAA, Shawnee
Sharon Elder, EODD AAA, Muskogee
Kay Carter, GGEDA AAA, Big Cabin
Clark Miller, INCOG AAA, Tulsa
Kim Rose, KEDDO AAA, Wilburton
Rick Billings LTCA, Enid
Justin Carnagey, OEDA, Beaver
Mark Ellis, SODA, Durant
Anita Martinez, SWODA, Burns Flat