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PNS Daily Newscast - December 13, 2018 


Trump 'fixer' Michael Cohen gets three years, and Trump calls him a liar. Also on the Thursday rundown: Higher smoking rates cause some states to fall in health rankings; and the Farm Bill helps wilderness areas.

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Report: Home Services Could Mitigate Taxpayer Burden

The Wyoming Home Services Program had a waiting list this year of nearly 100 residents who were not able to receive in-home care because of budget cuts and a lack of trained staff. (MyFuture/Flickr)
The Wyoming Home Services Program had a waiting list this year of nearly 100 residents who were not able to receive in-home care because of budget cuts and a lack of trained staff. (MyFuture/Flickr)
December 3, 2018

CHEYENNE, Wyo. – A report released by AARP shows that as Wyoming's aging population continues to rise, the state's budget could benefit from increased investment in home and community-based services that help residents age in their homes instead of nursing facilities.

Sam Shumway, state director of AARP Wyoming, says there are two significant reasons to ramp up investment in in-home services, which include bathing, cooking and transportation to doctor's appointments.

"The human reason is people want to age in their homes, they want to age in place, they don't want to have to move into a nursing home or some other institutional setting,” he explains. “And so home services will allow them to do that."

Shumway says the second reason is economic. The cost of in-home services is less than half of nursing-home care.

Shumway explains that after residents exhaust their personal savings, the state steps in to cover costs through Medicaid.

Today, according to the Wyoming Department of Health, the state spends $130 million per year on long-term care, and that number could increase to more than $300 million by 2030.

Wyoming's fiscal position could be even more precarious, according to the report, if the state continues to lose younger family members that provide care at no cost.

Currently, some 60,000 people provide more than $800 million in uncompensated care per year. The report found that Wyoming's average 10-year retention rate for 18-year-old workers between 1992 and 2001 was just 43 percent.

"If we see that outward migration of the younger generation and the increasing numbers of people who are 65, 75, 85 and older, that service is not going to be there,” Shumway points out. “And the result of that will have a significant economic impact on the state."

The Wyoming Home Services Program currently contracts with providers to serve people at risk of being placed in institutional care.

In 2018, the program served more than 1,900 residents at a cost of just under $3 million. The program also had a waiting list of nearly 100 residents who did not receive care because of budget cuts and a lack of trained staff.

Eric Galatas, Public News Service - WY