COLUMBUS- State Rep. Joshua E. O’Farrell (D-New Philadelphia) recently met with Ruth Hobart, a Dover senior, who has been able to remain in her home because of new provisions in Ohio’s PASSPORT program. The changes allow older Ohioans to bypass waiting lists for in-home and community-based care following a hospital stay.
“The changes this General Assembly made to the PASSPORT program help ensure our seniors receive the care they need in the location that makes the most sense for them,” said O’Farrell. “By preventing unnecessary stays in nursing homes, Ohio is keeping our seniors comfortable; preventing the trauma associated with moving and saving taxpayer money.”
The Home First program, part of the 2006-07 state budget, guaranteed older adults voluntarily leaving nursing facilities immediate access to home and community services. Patients who are discharged from hospitals and referred to nursing facilities do not have that privilege. Instead, they first may have to move into a nursing facility and then skip the wait list for in-home services.
This legislation expands the “Home First” provision to include Medicaid-eligible individuals who are at-risk for imminent institutionalization. Physicians, families, and community advocates, such as Area Agencies on Aging and Adult Protective Services, work together to determine the level of care needed. When the determination is made, the at-risk individual will be immediately eligible for PASSPORT or the Assisted Living Program.
This expansion not only creates additional choices regarding an individual’s long term care, but potentially reduces the overall cost. Providing services at home costs an estimated $20,000 annually per person, compared to $60,000 annually in a nursing facility.
REP. JOSHUA O’Farrell (D-New Philadelphia), right, talks with Ruth Hobart about her experience with Ohio’s PASSPORT program during a visit to Hobart’s home recently. From left, are Area Agency on Aging District 9 Case Manager Stephanie Border, District 9 Director Jim Endly, Hobart and O’Farrell.