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State Law A "Passport" to Independence for OH Seniors

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February 28, 2007

Many seniors could stay out of expensive nursing homes with just a little help, and a proposed state law would make it easier for them to live at home. Senate Bill 5 would expand the state's "Passport" program, which uses Medicaid funds to provide home care and living assistance to seniors. The bill's sponsor, State Senator John Carey, says it would help get many Ohio seniors out of nursing homes, and give them more control over where they live.

"It saves the state money, and also gives the person that was in the nursing home a quality of care that they need and choose to have."

The law would also provide help for low-income seniors who can't afford to continue with assisted living.

AARP Ohio is backing the proposal; state director Kathy Tefft-Keller says it's a sensible way to meet the needs of Ohio seniors -- and the families who care for them.

"Far and away, people prefer not to go into skilled nursing facilities if they do not need to be there. So this gives seniors true choice about where to receive long-term care services and supports."

Rob Ferrett/Chris Thomas, Public News Service - OH