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‘Your Dignity’ Campaign Seeks To Expand Home and Community-Based Services

AARP Mississippi has launched the “Your Dignity Your Future Your Choice” campaign to expand home and community-based services in the state. The campaign engages AARP members, volunteers, and any interested Mississippian in an effort to urge legislators to increase home and community-based services funding.
“Mississippians want to be able to age with dignity in their own homes,” said AARP Mississippi Senior State Director Sherri Davis-Garner. “Home and community-based services provide the support and services that allow seniors to remain at home. Also, it costs Mississippi taxpayers less to care for people in their own homes.”

It costs $68,000 to keep a person in a nursing home, while it only costs $18,000 to provide home and community-based services 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. Currently, Mississippi only spends 11 percent of its Medicaid budget on home and community-based services. The national average is 25 percent.
Home and community-based services elderly and disabled waivers 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.
Governor Haley Barbour, in his State of the State address, outlined a plan to use an anticipated $40 to $50 million surplus in Medicaid to place about 7,800 beneficiaries in home and community-based services. The agency has a projected surplus at the end of the fiscal year due to lower than projected participation in the program.
Groups involved in the campaign include the Mississippi Health Care Association, Mississippi Independent Nursing Home Association, and the Mississippi Nurses Association.
AARP Mississippi was successful in urging legislators to pass House Bill 1627 in 2010. That bill added $5 million to home and community-based services and called for the Division of Medicaid to submit a plan to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid to implement a program that meets the national standards for the Program for All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE).
For more information on the “Your Dignity Your Future Your Choice” campaign, call 1-877-926-8300 or visit AARP Mississippi online.

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