The Van Wert County Courthouse

Wednesday, May. 22, 2024

Local caregivers deserve support

To the Editor:

Americans are problem-solvers. When we are confronted with a challenge, we figure out how to overcome it or when we see that something isn’t working, we rethink our approach. Replacing outdated practices with new, smarter ways of doing things is the key to our nation’s economy and overcoming recent and historical public health challenges. Over the last year we have learned how vitally important it is for Ohioans to be able to stay safe at home and have the option to receive quality healthcare in their own home. 

For over 30 years, Area Agencies on Aging have been a leader in helping those who choose safe, dignified, independent living at home. These services have been essential to providing care to those who need it before and during the pandemic and will continue to grow in importance as we move into the future. 

With the pandemic, now more than ever, older Ohioans are looking for every opportunity to avoid congregate settings in fear of contracting COVID-19. Families are struggling to care for their loved ones and provide a safe environment. Area Agencies on Aging are the local resource for home and community-based services, such as personal care, transportation, and meals. 

The home and community-based system helps keep care local and people living in their homes where they are most comfortable, but providers who deliver in-home care are struggling to stay operational. Medicaid reimbursement rates for our partners in the home care industry have failed to keep up with the cost of doing business. This has created a situation where providers are considering closing their doors or moving to a neighboring state where there is a more favorable business environment. This leaves our most vulnerable Ohioans at-risk of losing access to services that help keep them safe at home. 

Choosing in-home care and living independently shouldn’t mean isolation.  We work with a network of healthcare providers to deliver vital services that keep our neighbors safe at home and healthy, at a fraction of the cost when compared to other alternatives. 

The state of Ohio needs to provide adequate reimbursement for these services or our local partners won’t be able to provide the essential services that so many of our fellow Ohioans depend on.

Jacqi Lucke-Bradley 
CEO, Area Agency on Aging 3 
via email

POSTED: 02/17/21 at 11:26 pm. FILED UNDER: Letters to the Editor