Pennsylvania to Offer Additional Assistance to Older Adults and Persons with Disabilities - NEWS10 ABC: Albany, New York News, Weather, Sports

Pennsylvania to Offer Additional Assistance to Older Adults and Persons with Disabilities

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SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare; Pennsylvania Department of Aging

HARRISBURG, Pa., June 19, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Pennsylvania is partnering with the federal government to help meet the Corbett Administration's goal of improving community-based support to older Pennsylvanians and adults with disabilities, the Pennsylvania Departments of Public Welfare and Aging announced today.

The two departments applied for and will receive enhanced federal funding through the federal Balancing Incentive Program. Through the program, states commit to make improvements to how individuals access long-term support that will help them to stay in their homes and communities. Pennsylvania will receive $94 million and is one of 20 states to be approved for the program. This funding was included in Governor Corbett's 2014-15 budget proposal.

"Older adults and people with disabilities have a strong desire to be able to live at home or in their own communities. That is a recurring theme we've heard as we've traveled the commonwealth," Department of Public Welfare Secretary Beverly Mackereth said. "We are thrilled that the federal government recognized our commitment to serving these individuals."

The Balancing Incentive program continues Governor Corbett's commitment to provide greater access to community-based supports for older Pennsylvanians and individuals with disabilities and allow for:

  • An additional 1,764 older Pennsylvanians to be served through the Medicaid home and community-based aging waiver;
  • An additional 1,599 individuals with physical disabilities to be served in community settings;
  • 700 young adults with intellectual disabilities who are graduating from the special education system to continue to live independently in the community by receiving home and community-based services;
  • 400 individuals with intellectual disabilities who are on the emergency waiting list to be served to keep them in their homes and communities; and
  • 100 adults with autism spectrum disorders to be served in the autism waiver program.

"The additional funding is critical to older Pennsylvanians in need of home and community-based services," stated Secretary of Aging Brian Duke. "Additionally, this program will allow Pennsylvania to make important improvements to how people learn about and access community-based, long-term supports."

The plan submitted by the two departments for use of the funding calls for:

  • Creating a web page that provides information on all Medicaid community-based supports for older Pennsylvanians, adults with physical disabilities, persons with intellectual disabilities, persons with autism and persons with serious mental illness.
  • Creating an information and referral tool that allows individuals to identify what programs may support their long-term needs, how to enroll in these programs and/or where to call for more information.
  • Allowing individuals in need of long-term supports to call a toll-free hotline with questions about programs related to long-term supports available in their local communities. 
  • Improving the time it takes to determine which individuals are eligible for Medicaid long-term supports.

The enhanced federal funding under the Balancing Incentive Program begins on July 1, 2014, and concludes on Sept. 30, 2015.

For more information, visit www.dpw.state.pa.us.

Media contact:   
Kait Gillis, DPW, 717-425-7606
Christina Reese, Aging, 717-783-1550

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