Cole-McCrea reports on State Committee for the Aging

 As representative and advocate for Strafford County, I attended the NH State Committee on Aging on September 10th.
A letter was sent to the NH Housing Authority requesting action relief for the housing crisis affecting low income, elderly and/or persons with disabilities within the state.

The senior volunteer program no longer pays mileage, which leaves many elders without means to pay drivers to take them to appointments.  The respite program is also at risk.  Both of these programs were taken out of the state budget two years ago and are now in the first draft of the new budget so please keep on your representatives!

  A Public Health grant has been applied for that would provide some oral health for persons over 60, within income guidelines,  that need a hygienist.  Right now, Medicaid only covers extractions.  Other grants applied for include one for Risk and Fall assessments, ServiceLink expansion to include counseling for persons who may need long term care but are not Medicaid eligible, and a grant to enable Adult and Elderly Protective Services to assist and support seniors who are or have been exploited.  Hopefully we will get these grants!

We were advised on the duties of the Long Term Care Ombudsman, who advocates for elders in nursing homes, assisted living, respite and family homes and acts independently of any state or private  agency.

It was pointed out that under Medicare, being hospitalized for observation for up to three days is not the same as  being admitted for three days…something I did not know. One has to be admitted in a hospital, not for observation,  for three days before Medicare will step in on a nursing home transfer cost.  We were advised to check for hospital status and financial options before being admitted to a nursing home…I sat there wondering how a person alone would be able to do that!  Medicare also needs to be called on Day 99 of a nursing home stay as Medicare will only pay 100% for the first 20 days, then 80% up to day 100, dependent upon and if and only if occupational therapy/physical therapy state adequate progress towards rehabilitation is being made.  We hope at some point that there will be trainings on this through ServiceLink, but that is not yet available.  We asked for training on Medicare so we can advise our communities; this should be forthcoming.

This summarizes my notes on the September meeting.  Any errors are mine only.  Feel free to contact me with any needs, solutions, or ideas.  Candace Cole-McCrea, 652-7594.