Michigan Receives Grant To Help Keep Older Adults Out Of Nursing Homes

Contact: David Dekker (517) 373-4082
Agency: Community Health

October 11, 2007

The Michigan Office of Services to the Aging (OSA) has been awarded a grant by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to provide more choices for high risk individuals before they enter a nursing home.

Michigan is one of 12 states to receive the Nursing Home Diversion Program grant. It will provide $500,000 over three years to give more affordable choices to older adults with health problems who are struggling to remain in their own homes. The goal is to allow Michigan to use its federal and state-funded dollars in a more flexible manner, so that a greater range of service options can be made available to individuals who are at high risk of nursing home placement. This will give them a greater role in determining the types of services they receive, and the manner in which they receive them.

"These funds will allow people to have self-directed care and person-centered planning," said Sharon Gire, OSA Director. "It will give Michigan another way to provide long-term care services at home and will allow our state to obtain additional funding at a time when our state budget is being stretched to the maximum."

Last October, the U.S. Congress included authority for funding this prevention strategy when it reauthorized the Older Americans Act (OAA). These provisions in the OAA complement recent changes in Medicare and Medicaid, reflecting the desire of older adults to receive and direct their own personal care at home.

"We want to help them spend their own resources wisely," said Josefina G. Carbonell, U.S. Assistant Secretary for Aging. "By giving people affordable choices and greater control over the services they receive, we know they will select options that will better respond to their particular needs, and they will be able to stay at home longer."

In Michigan, OSA will partner with area agencies on aging (AAAs) in three regions of the state to conduct the Nursing Home Diversion Program in collaboration with their local service providers. The three AAAs are Area Agency on Aging 1-B (Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, St. Clair and Washtenaw Counties); the Tri-County Office on Aging (Clinton, Ingham and Eaton Counties); and Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan (Allegan, Ionia, Kent, Lake, Mason, Mecosta, Montcalm, Newaygo and Osceola Counties). In addition, the UP (Upper Peninsula) Area Agency on Aging will provide mentoring assistance to the grant.