Article from LifeSpan Network Enews ()
September 13, 2008
Congregate Housing Services Program Advocacy Urged
LifeSpan Asking Housing Members to Write Governor, Legislators on Program

LifeSpan developed a CHSP fact sheet for housing member organizations and we've asked our housing professionals to invite government leaders to their programs, start letter-writing campaigns to Maryland's Governor O'Malley, to spotlight the essential nature of this program to many, many of Maryland's seniors.

We thank those housing organizations that have responded enthusiastically to this campaign!

The CHSP Fact Sheet is as follows:


A Success Story – CHSP Advances State’s Goals to Allow Seniors to Age- in- Place and Avoid Costlier Services
Ms. L is an 85-year-old African-American single female with no family and no support system. She has uncontrolled hypertension, bi-lateral venous insufficiency and legedema. She also suffers from mild dementia. Since July 2001 Ms. L. has been a resident of Good Samaritan Senior Housing at Belvedere Green in Baltimore City. However in 2006, Ms. L. had multiple hospitalizations. Her chronic medical conditions made it very difficult to perform basic household and personal care functions. Despite this situation, Ms. L. was resistant to accepting help. In response, the CHSP Coordinator worked with her and her physician. Once Ms. L was medically stable, she accepted CHSP services, i.e., daily meals, weekly housekeeping and laundry, and personal assistance. Ms. L. continues to receive CHSP services. Without CHSP services, there would have been a greater likelihood that Ms. L’s health would have rapidly deteriorated, causing her to rely on medical assistance and move to a nursing home.

What is the Congregate Housing Services Program (CHSP)?
CHSP is a program within the State Department of Aging that provides meals, housekeeping, laundry, personal services and service management to low-income, frail elderly population in senior citizen apartment buildings. The Maryland Department of Aging contracts with housing and senior service provider organizations, such as local housing authorities, non-profit organizations, or housing management companies, to operate a Congregate Housing Services Program for eligible residents of designated buildings.

Who qualifies for CHSP?
Eligible residents are those who are at least 62 years of age and in need of assistance in one or more activities of daily living. The mission of the Congregate Housing Services Program is to provide support services and State subsidies to eligible residents of low and moderate income senior housing who, due to advanced age or chronic health conditions, need daily help with activities such as meals, housekeeping, and personal services.

What is the cost to operate CHSP? On average, the cost to provide services to an enrollee is approximately $4039/year. The State and the enrollee share the cost. The enrollee’s share is through a sliding scale payment based on income. The State’s annual share is only $2,263 per enrollee, which equates to $1.7 million a year. Compared to nursing homes and the Older Adults Waiver, the CHSP is one of the most cost-effective State programs.

Sources: Maryland Department of Legislative Services, Maryland Department of Aging

Why should the State make the CHSP a State funding priority and increase funding to the program?
• For a fraction of the cost of more costly placements, CHSP allows individuals to stay in their community – a goal of the State.
• Over the last few years, the State has continually discussed the need to reform the long-term care delivery system. In reforming long-term care in Maryland, the State must consider ALL programs, not just Medicaid

Could increasing funding to CHSP actually save the State money?
• Yes, the CHSP program is believed to delay or divert nursing home and assisted living facility transitions. Delaying and diverting such transitions increase the quality of life for seniors and can also have a positive fiscal impact on the State.
• For example, in one year, a participating provider transferred 23 individuals to a nursing home. Assuming that these individuals were able to avoid placement in a nursing home by one year because of CHSP services, the State saved $1,381,357/year.
**Calculation (Medicaid’s cost for 23 individuals $1,433406 - MDOA’s cost for 23 individuals $52,049 = $1,381,357 cost savings).

Is the State providing services to all interested individuals eligible for CHSP?
No. In 2007, the State was unable to provide services to 193 individuals due to lack of funding. According to the Department of Aging, currently, only 877 individuals are enrolled in the program. This number is projected to decrease in 2009 to 716.

Is CHSP available in all counties?
No. Currently, there are 28 sites offering CHSP services in only 7 of the 24 counties – Allegany (3 sites), Montgomery (6 sites), St. Mary’s (1 site), Anne Arundel (5 sites), Baltimore County (4 sites, but will decrease to 3 sites in FY09), Baltimore City (8 sites) and Wicomico (1 site) counties. However, 42 providers have requested participation in the program to serve additional seniors and have been denied due to lack of funding.

Published by Mid-Atlantic LifeSpan
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