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Home is Where the “Best Bang for the Buck” is for MA

February 13, 2009

Boston, MA – Home may be where the heart is, but it also is where Massachusetts can save at least $400 million a year. Mass Home Care says state services that help elders stay home, rather than go into nursing homes, result in those savings because nursing homes are more expensive.

But, Mass Home Care Executive Director Al Norman says, because of the state budget crunch, 700 elders are now on a waiting list for in-home assistance, and if it isn't available, many of them could end up in more-expensive nursing homes.

"It makes sense financially to keep people at home. It’s where they want to be, and it’s enlightened social policy to do it."

Massachusetts spends about $140 million a year on homecare services; a budget line item that’s fallen to cuts implemented across-the-board due to the state deficit. If the state is serious about saving money, adds Norman, then keeping elders in their homes should be a priority.

"It costs $158 a day to have somebody in a nursing home, but for that price, you can keep two people at home. That’s a two-for-one."

Norman’s group is calling for the state to clear the waiting list.

Deb Courson, Public News Service - MA