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AARP Mississippi’s Multi-year Effort Eliminates Waiting List for Home and Community-Based Services

For more than 6 years, AARP Mississippi has advocated for more home and community-based services (HCBS) funding. This year, work by AARP staff and volunteers paid off with the elimination of the HCBS waiting list. In 2011, AARP Mississippi successfully urged legislators to allocate $16 million from a Medicaid surplus. The Mississippi Division of Medicaid used the $16 million to begin moving people from the HCBS waiting lists into services.

See Also: Connect With Caregivers

Previously, the program provided services to 12,097 state residents. The funding for 16,800 slots means the 3,386 people whose names were on the waiting list can get the care they need without having to move into a nursing home. In addition, 1,317 more people could be served.

“AARP Mississippi has made home and community-based services our key issue for years because our members have told us they want to age at home with dignity,” said AARP Mississippi State Director Sherri Davis-Garner. “We are pleased that thousands of Mississippians will receive services that give them independence.”

After hearing about the HCBS Elderly and Disabled waiver program, Clark Funches called the Division of Medicaid to find out if he qualified. “I’m glad they have the (HCBS Elderly and Disabled) waiver program,” he said. “It helps a lot of people. I called Medicaid one time and they sent me some papers about the waiver program.” Funches said he and his wife find the home aide very useful. “The home aide comes here two times a week for two hours to help us with duties around the house,” he said. Funches also attends an adult day care

HCBS services include: homemaker services, adult day services, expanded home health services, home-delivered meals, escorted transportation, institutional respite and/or in-home respite, transition assistance and case management.

HCBS save the state money because three people can be cared for at home for about the same cost of caring for one person in a nursing home or institutional care. It costs $68,000 to keep a person in a nursing home, while it only costs $18,000 to provide care for a person in his or her own home, according to a 2010 MetLife Market Survey of Nursing Home, Adult Day Services, and Home Care Costs. As a result, HCBS saves taxpayers money.

To ask about Medicaid services, call 1-800-421-2408. To help with AARP advocacy, call 1-866-554-5382 toll free or email aarpms@aarp.org.

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