District’s Budget Leaves Many Seniors At-Risk, Senior Advisory Coalition Disappointed
On May 31, 2016 the DC Council adopted the Mayor’s FY17 budget, which significantly underfunded the community based long term care system of services. Specifically, Mayor Bowser’s budget called for transferring Medicaid eligible seniors to an out of state transportation provider, instead of the popular Seabury Connector program. In addition, the administration has required that the District’s 8 Lead Agencies become Medicaid providers, so that they can bill for case management under the federal program. The FY17 budget reduced the DCOA budget by over $700,000 in anticipated “cost-savings” from these two major changes, despite the fact that there are over 200 seniors in need of these services on the waitlists throughout the city. Furthermore the removal of these funds from the FY17 DCOA budget reduces the baseline of funding for FY18 at a time when our senior population is growing. The SAC strongly believes that the FY17 budget leaves many of our frailest seniors at risk and ignores the very real likelihood that many seniors will be left without any services. The Council and the administration did not address the SAC’s concerns about the time it will take agencies to get through the Medicaid application process, and it will take time for seniors to get the necessary approvals for transferring to a new transportation service. Although DCOA claims the necessary approvals can be completed in the next 3 – 4 months so that no seniors are left without services on October 1, the beginning f the fiscal year, SAC members are not as optimistic. We plan to monitor the situation closely. For more information, please contact Alayna Waldrum.