Editorial

EDITORIAL: Has D.C. Chosen Poorly as New Firm Now Oversees Home Care of Elderly, Disabled?

Like the overwhelming majority of other print and online publications in the U.S., we routinely read what others report, particularly when the news indicates something with which we’re unaware. And while we’d prefer to get the scoop and break the news for our readers, sometimes we find ourselves following other’s lead after which we do our very while seeking to ascertain the veracity of the report.

Such is the case after we took stock of a recently-published article by The Washington Post which highlights changes negatively impacting seniors and the disabled after the District decided late last year to appoint a new company to assess and even revise the total number of hours that should be approved for funding for personal care aides (PCA).

Alarmingly, while testimonies from a host of citizens indicate that these PCAs yield great benefits, making life more manageable for hundreds of elderly or disabled D.C. residents and their families, the news story indicates that the use of a new assessment tool and a new case-management program utilized by the newly hired company have, in some instances, resulted in fewer hours being approved for those eligible for assistance under the District’s Elderly and Persons with Physical Disabilities Medicaid Waiver Program.

One AARP spokesperson, quoted in the article, says the new system, which had not been tested prior to being employed, has put more people at risk, drastically reducing the total hours of PCA services for some – even finding others ineligible for the D.C.-funded program after the assessment had been completed.

We will investigate this report and the views of senior health care advocates like AARP and health care professionals as well. But for now, the conclusions that we’ve made based on the voices of those cited in the story, can only be described as “extremely disconcerting.”

Stay tuned.

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