Supers urged to save Medicare costs

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By Cheryl Petersen
The Delaware County Board of Supervisors convened in Delhi on July 23 to authorize the sale of 74 tax acquired properties including three in Andes; 11 in Middletown, eight in Roxbury, and four in the Town of Stamford.
Other business included an update on the construction of the new county recycling plant in Walton. “The primary steel is going up. Two of the three floor slabs have been placed, and we are aiming to be operational early October,” said Sue McIntyre, director of Delaware County Solid Waste Department.

Cash flow fix
“The $2.5 million budget amendment resolved a cash-flow issue. It just happened to play out that bills needed to be paid this first year of construction rather than within a two-year period as previously planned,” said McIntyre. “The money was in the reserve fund.”
Also on the agenda, the board gave attention to Drew Brenner from the Office of the Aging who presented the supervisors with a five-page report that shows money can be saved through basic community based services for seniors and the handicapped.
“This cost savings coincides with the fact that most adults say they want to get older in their community, preferably in their own home,” said Brenner.
Data shows that aging in place actually incurs less cost than nursing-home care.

Out of county paying
Most clients in nursing homes become Medicaid eligible within months of admission. “The Medicaid costs for nursing homes care for county residents are paid by Delaware County even if the nursing home is in another county,” said Brenner.
Average monthly costs were compared to Medicaid long-term care costs. A statistic prepared by Delaware County NY Connects states that care-at-home costs can range from $20-$700 per month, while Medicaid care can cost $4,500 per month.
The high cost of long-term care on families and public programs such as Medicaid is prompting some re-thinking.
“This is a significant time for the supervisors to consider positioning the county with the higher level government officials who are implementing initiatives,” said Brenner, referring to the Medicaid Redesign Team already in place in New York.
Office of the Aging provides a number of important services such as home delivered meals, Link-to-Life personal emergency response systems and the expanded in-home non-medical personal care service.
“These services help older persons remain in their home and delay entering a long-term care facility for up to 40 months,” said Brenner. “We can build on this.”
“It’s critical that simple services be in place,” said Brenner. “A few basic services such as assistance with shopping, home maintenance, housekeeping, yard work, and companionship may be all that it is needed to keep someone in their home. Others benefit from personal care and transportation.”
“Our seniors are worth the effort,” added Brenner. “Many bring income to the area and pay property taxes.”
At present, the Delaware County Legacy Corps, operated by Delaware Support and Services, Inc., and in partnership with Office for the Aging, NY Connects, the Alzheimer’s Association, and the United Presbyterian Church in Walton hosts a community-based volunteer program one day per week. “Getting the volunteers is tough,” said Hamden Supervisor, Wayne Marshfield.