Home care may become less accessible to Pennsylvania’s newly discharged hospital patients
July 05, 2012
Local aging agencies are asking the Pennsylvanian Department of Aging to continue supporting the state's Community Choice program, as reported by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Around 2004, the Community Choice program started as a pilot project in three Pennsylvania counties, aiming to expedite the process in which newly discharged hospital patients receive plans for home care.
"You can't wait two months for in-home support if you're leaving the hospital," Leslie Grenfell, executive director of the Southwestern Pennsylvania Area Agency on Aging, told the news source. "You've got to have that immediately."
In some cases, Community Choice shortened that wait time to a matter of days. Ultimately, the program may have helped the state avoid having to make larger payments for nursing home care, Grenfell said.
However, the new State Plan on Aging, to be submitted to the U.S. Administration on Aging, does not contain any provisions for Community Choice. The state's Department of Public Welfare did not give a reason for the development, but said that local agencies may contact the state if a patient is at risk of entering a nursing home, according to the news source.
This news may potentially affect Pennsylvania's growing population of seniors. Between 2010 and 2015, the number of Pennsylvanians aged 65 and older is expected to increase by about 10 percent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.