Openings available for in-home services low-income older adults

At the Clermont Senior Services’ annual meeting last week, Barbara Riley, director of the Ohio Department on Aging, announced that Governor Strickland recently issued a directive to end the PASSPORT waiting list. PASSPORT is a state and federally funded program that provides resources to help low income older adults continue to live at home as an alternative to nursing home care. Locally, the program is administered b the Council on Aging of Southwestern Ohio. Clermont Senior Services is a PASSPORT provider in Clermont County, along with a number of other home care agencies. Individuals can inquire about eligibility by calling the Council on Aging at 721-1025, or 1-800-252-0155. Clermont County residents can also call Clermont Senior Services for information about the PASSPORT program.

Since the PASSPORT program began in the early1980s, thousands of frail low income older adults throughout Ohio have been able to continue living at home. So many older adults need the program that it has caused a waiting list which currently stands at about 1,100 statewide. The Governor’s directive will provide enough funds to eliminate the waiting list by the end of June.

In his biennium budget plan, Governor Strickland has also proposed an increase of 5,600 PASSPORT openings statewide over the next two years. This is expected to allow for expansion of the program through June of 2009 without a waiting list.

According to Ken Wilson, director of Programs & Planning for the Council on Aging, families often are not aware of PASSPORT and other in-home services they may qualify for. The Council on Aging is anxious to get the word out that PASSPORT enrollment is open again.

PASSPORT is one of several long term care options available to older adults. It is for people who are age 60 or older, eligible for Medicaid (low-income) and who are in need of skilled or intermediate level of nursing home care. PASSPORT provides services such as home-delivered meals, personal care, adult day care, and transportation to doctor appointments. Case managers work with participants to develop a plan of care to make sure they receive the services they need in coordination with care that may be provided by family members or friends.

There is no charge for eligible individuals. As noted above, to qualify and individual must be assessed as needing nursing home level of care, and income and assets are considered in determining financial eligibility. More than 33,000 Ohioans receive long-term care through PASSPORT at a fraction of the cost of nursing home care. PASSPORT costs about $1,100 per month, while nursing home care can easily cost more than four times this amount.

If you know someone who may be eligibility for the PASSPORT program, call the Council on Aging at 721-1025 or 1-800-252-0155.