Area Agency on Aging
Non-Medical Home & Community-Based Services
The Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) have three priorities for Non-Medical Home & Community-Based Services (NMHCBS) for the coming state fiscal year. NMHCBS funds are used for older adults who need these vital NMHCBS services (Adult Day Health services, assistance with bathing, dressing, meal preparation, shopping, bed linen changing, and light housekeeping) in order to remain living independently in their homes and communities.
NMHCBS are a cost-effective solution, and are the primary buffer to slow the expansion of people needing more expensive forms of support, such as nursing home placement. These services help frail elders remain independent without enrolling in the much more costly for Medicaid Arizona Long-Term Care System (ALTCS). DES indicates that the average cost of this type of care in ALTCS is $19,428 per year. By contrast, NMHCBS delivered by AAAs are estimated by DES to cost an average of just $2,137 per case annually.
During its last session the Legislature appropriated $700,000 in transferred Lottery Funds to address the increased need. The AAAs are very pleased that Gov. Ducey included these funds as part of his budget request, again as a transfer from the DHS Lottery Fund. This year these funds have allowed the AAAs to remove approximately 350 people from long waiting lists. Appropriation again next year will allow these individuals to continue to receive services.
The voter passage of Proposition 206 regarding the minimum wage and sick leave has increased the staffing costs of providers contracted to the AAAs to provide NMHCBS services, in the same manner it has for ALTCS providers and providers of services to those with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. In fact, in most instances, the providers are the same. Given this reality, the AAAs are seeking a seven percent (7%) increase in the funding used to purchase these services. The AAAs estimate the amount of these funds spent on subcontracted services statewide (not including the Navajo Nation) is $9,030,842 and the requested percentage increase amount is $632,100.
In spite of the much-appreciated additional funds appropriated during the last session, there are currently more than 2,600 individuals waiting for these vital NMHCBS. As previously stated, DES has estimated that AAAs spend an average of $2,137 per case annually to provide these services. Using those figures, it would take $5,686,557 to eliminate the waiting lists and keep or delay frail elders from falling onto the ALTCS rolls, at the much higher cost. Fiscal realities make this amount unrealistic, but $1,900,000 would reduce the waiting list by a third.
Appropriating these funds would make a significant difference in the lives of thousands of Arizona’s elders. It would save the taxpayers of Arizona a significant amount of their tax funds. Compassion and fiscal sense at the same time.
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