PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — As our parents age, many of us are forced to decide whether they can safely keep living in their home or they need to be moved.
Governor Tom Wolf introduced a plan Thursday that should make it possible for seniors to live at home longer.
More health care choices for senior citizens, and those younger with disabilities, is the goal of a new state program unveiled in Pittsburgh by Wolf and state officials.
“I am really excited about this program, and we’re launching first, as you know, in southwestern Pennsylvania,” Wolf said.
Speaking to seniors gathered at the Stephen Foster Community Center in Lawrenceville, Wolf said the program, called Community Health Choices, will allow more seniors to get health care at home, if that’s what they prefer.
“The idea is that everybody, I thinkm like my mother, wants to have choices,” Wolf said.
A choice to stay at home with quality health care or to go into a health care institution under a managed care program offered by three different providers chosen by the individual.
The goal, says Secretary of Aging Teresa Osborne, is “to protect our seniors, to provide them with health choices and to insure that they are able to stay in their homes and in their communities with their families as they age.”
To achieve that, the state will utilize something called Managed Care Organizations, or MCOs.
“We’re moving into managed care so that services and support that our seniors and people with physical disabilities need are coordinated through that entity essentially,” Secretary of Human Resources Teresa Miller said, “so we’re going to do a better job of coordinating our physical health, our long term services and support, our behavioral health, and that’s really the goal here.”
Consumers will be free to choose the MCO that best serves them.
“Ultimately, ultimately, when it comes right down to it, the individual and his or her family will be deciding what happens,” Wolf said.
The program begins in this region on Jan. 1.