AARP Indiana is urging state lawmakers to protect Indiana’s oldest and frailest residents by fully funding home and community-based services for seniors and people with disabilities.
Unless lawmakers act, the Daniels’ administration will cut home-care services by $9.4 million per year starting next July. A cut of that magnitude equals 20 percent of the current state budget for home and community-based services, or enough to serve 1,323 of the more than 9,000 Hoosiers on home-care waiting lists.
The cuts are being proposed even though the state’s annual report on CHOICE, Indiana’s signature home-care program, says “the CHOICE program continues to be a cost-effective way to provide needed services to Hoosiers.”
CHOICE provides alternatives to nursing home care to more than 10,000 Hoosiers every year at a fraction of the cost of nursing homes. Services include home-delivered meals, attendant care, skilled nursing visits, and transportation to doctors, pharmacies and other providers.
According to the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration, the average CHOICE client is an 85-year-old woman who lives alone, has significant physical impairments and struggles with daily life activities such as personal care, cooking and housekeeping.
“Don’t balance the budget on her back,” said Paul Chase, public policy director at AARP Indiana. “Home and community-based services help her live independently in her own home, at a fraction of the cost of nursing home care.”
Chase also noted a significant difference between past and current budget raids on CHOICE. In the past, the state has transferred significant CHOICE appropriations to Medicaid waivers, a parallel home care program that generates matching federal dollars.
But the current proposal simply cuts total available state funding for home care without transferring any additional dollars to waivers.
“The proposed cuts don’t add a single dollar or a single client to Medicaid waivers,” Chase said. “Everyone hurts when Indiana cuts funding for home and community-based care.”
Chase encouraged Hoosiers to tell their state representative and senator to block the planned cuts.
Call the Indiana House of Representatives toll free at 1-800-382-9600. The Indiana Senate can be reached at 1-800-382-9467.