18th Senate District Seniors Get Briefed On Governor's Proposed 2008-09 State Budget

Velmanette Montgomery

February 29, 2008


At a meeting convened by Senator Velmanette Montgomery for senior citizen center directors from her Senate District, information was exchanged about the Governor's Executive Budget proposal and its impact on senior services in Brooklyn and statewide.

Following are highlights of the Governor's funding recommendations for the NYS Office for the Aging:



The New York State Office for the Aging (SOFA) is responsible for promoting, coordinating and administering State, Federal and local programs and services for 3.2 million NewYorkers aged 60 or older. The Office provides leadership and direction to 59 Area Agencies on Aging, as well as to numerous other local programs and providers that comprise the network of services to the aged.      

Expanded Congregate Services Initiative (ECSI)   

Senator Velmanette Montgomery has proposed a new $1 million program initiative, which is designed to bring together chronic disease management services as well as health screenings and disease prevention programs under one roof. As envisioned, these services would be provided in senior centers and residences as well as other congregate care facilities for our seniors. 

Whenever possible, Medicare, Medicaid, and other insurance would pay for these services. However, the State would provide funding to fill in the gap as well as provide administrative funding for the host agency whether it is a senior center or residence or other congregate setting.

Examples of programs proven to be effective at prevention and chronic disease management include:       

Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program  

                   Improves physical functioning. 
                   Decreases levels of depression.
                   Increase ability of seniors to exercise on their own.

Chronic Disease Self-Management Program  

                   Helps seniors to better exercise.
                   Improves ability to manage cognitive challenges.
                   Fosters better communication with physicians.
                   Improves general health and lessons fatigue.
                   Helps with decrease limitations in social activity due to disability

Enhance Fitness 

                   Improves social functioning.
                   Decreases levels of depression.
                   Improves physical functioning. 

Healthy Moves for Aging Well

                   Builds strength and increases flexibility 
                   Reduces fear of falling.
                   Reduces the risk of falling.
                   Increases confidence in ability to exercise.
                   Increases knowledge of benefits of exercise.
                   Decreases symptoms of depression. 

Healthy Ideas for a Better Life

                  Reduces depressive symptoms.
                  Increases quality of life.
                  Provides knowledge for participants to better access mental health services.

A Matter of Balance

                  Decreases the fear of falling.
                  Increases the general level of activity of participants.

Program to Encourage Active and Rewarding Lives for Seniors 

                 Reduces symptoms of depression.
                 Helps create a greater health-related quality of life.
                 Improves functional and emotional well-being.

Partners in Care Foundation Medication Management System

                Identifies medication that might cause harm, and discontinues their use.
                Decreases risk of falls/confusion as well as dizziness.
                Helps better control pain and blood pressure. 

Strong for Life

                    Increases strength, balance, and overall health.

Women Take Pride  

                     Improves general health status, weight, and physical functioning.
                     Alleviates heart related symptoms.
                     Improves psycho social functioning

Working with the Director of the State Office for the Aging, Senator Montgomery will push for the insertion of the following appropriation in the SFY 2008-09 Budget:  

For services and expenses of grants to senior centers and other congregate programs including housing for the establishment of demonstration programs to reduce the rates of, and effectively managing chronic disease, increase the use of Medicare preventive screenings and benefits, expand the use of evidence based health promotion and disease prevention programs, expand the use of mental health and chemical abuse screenings and other such evidence based programs that have proven cost effective in reducing overall per person health care costs while increasing quality of life and reducing depression. An amount not to exceed 10 percent of the allocation may be used for evaluating the programs...........................$1,000,000  

SFY 2008-09 Executive Budget Recommendations

Congregate Services Initiative provides services in senior centers and other community settings. Services include: counseling, transportation, support services for families/caregivers, volunteer and employment opportunities, and health promotion and disease prevention services. The Executive requests $866,000 in funding, no change from SFY 2007-08. 

Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities (NORC) 

There are two versions of this very successful and popular program:

Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities (NORC) describes a phenomenon experienced by certain housing complexes, cooperatives and apartment buildings where the population has "aged in place". This program delivers on-site services to an estimated 90,000 clients. Proposed State funding for this program is $2.2 million and requires a 100% match from local or private sources.  

Neighborhood Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities (NORC)
is designed for neighborhoods and other geographically designated neighborhoods composed of single and multifamily homes where the members of the community have "aged in place". Services include case management, counseling, health assessment, transportation, and housekeeping. Recommended state funding for this program is $2.2 million and requires a 100% match from local or private sources. 

Managed Care Consumer Assistance Program:
This new initiative is funded at $2 million and will provide education and outreach, one on one counseling, as well as monitoring of the implementation of Medicare Part D requirements for persons eligible for either Medicare or the Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Program (EPIC). The program will also assist these persons with appeals and fair hearings related to Medicare Part D coverage:

The proposed recipients of this funding are:

-Medicare Rights Center $900,000

-Statewide Senior Action Network $400,000

-New York Legal Assistance Group $125,000

-Selfhelp Community Services, Inc. $125,000

-Empire Justice Center $175,000

-Community Service Society $150,000

-Legal Aid Society of New York $125,000

Community Services for the Elderly (CSE) - This program supports a locally-coordinated continuum of support services designed to assist the elderly, their families and informal caregivers. The goal of the program is to maximize independence and reduce unnecessary reliance on institutional care. The Executive recommends $16.6 million in funding, no change from the previous year.

Expanded In-Home Services for the Elderly (EISEP)
- EISEP provides non-medical in-home services, case management, respite and ancillary services to the frail elderly, most of whom are low income but not eligible for Medicaid. EISEP also supports individuals who participate in the nursing home diversion program as well as other demonstration programs designed to provide support to the elderly and maintain them in the community. The Executive requests $50 million in funding, no change from the previous year. 

Targeted Expanded In-Home Services for the Elderly Program (TEP) -
This new $2.5 million program targets those seniors experiencing three or more activities of daily living (ADL) impairments and/or a diagnosis of dementia. The strongest predictors of nursing home placement are individuals with three or more ADLs, a cognitive impairment, or prior nursing home use. 

By implementing Targeted EISEP, New York State will enhance the design of the traditional EISEP program and enable communities to help additional high risk elders age successfully in place in their preferred environment. It may do this by offering enhanced tools to the county such as:

- Intensive case management, community services

- Family support – training, counseling, respite

- Transportation, community service/health advocates

- Implementation of evidence based chronic disease self management 

- In-Home tele homecare support

- Medication management and dispensing, and

- Screening – mental health, chemical abuse, etc...

The Targeted EISEP program, coupled with traditional EISEP, provides communities with the tools they need to delay nursing home placement, avoid Medicaid spend-down and hospitalizations, and provide better outcomes for the individual and their family. 

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
is the State counterpart for Federal programs which provide congregate and home-delivered meals and the purchase of food. The Executive requests $23.2 million in funding, an increase of $4million from SFY 2007-08. 

Caregiver Resource Centers
assist caregivers through training programs, support groups, counseling and linkages to other community services. The Executive recommends $360,000 in funding, no change from SFY 2007-08. 

Foster Grandparents Program: The Executive recommends $200,000 in funding, no change from SFY 2007-08.  

Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP):
The Executive recommends $1 million in funding, no change from SFY 2007-08. 

Long Term Care Ombudsman
provides funds from SOFA for community agencies to investigate and resolve a wide range of concerns and complaints regarding conditions and treatment in long-term care facilities, with the goal of ensuring the quality of life for residents. The Executive recommends $746,000 in funding, no change from SFY 2007-08. 

Social Model Adult Day Services:
The Executive recommends $947,000 in funding, no change from SFY 2007-08. 

Enriched Social Adult Day Services:
The Executive recommends $1 million for this new initiative designed to provide services at adult day care centers to avoid spending down their income to be eligible for Medicaid services. 

The Executive recommends $1 million, a decrease of ($1 million) in funding due to elimination of a legislative addition in SFY 2007-08, for grants to the 59 Area Agencies on Aging for operating expenses associated with supplying transportation to the elderly.

Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA):
The Executive recommends $15.6 million in funding, an increase of $4.9 million from SFY 2007-08 for the operating costs of EISEP, CSE, and SNAP.