Missouri seniors and disabled citizens suffered a major blow during this year's legislative session because of budget cuts. When the session was over, the governor vetoed and withheld additional funding from state programs. After the dust settled, over 8000 senior and disabled Missourians lost in-home care and nursing home services. In addition, over 63,000 low income seniors lost state assistance to help them pay for prescription drugs.
The budget cuts occurred because of declining tax revenue in Missouri. The declining revenue resulted from numerous legislative tax cuts that have been made for special interests and corporations. More tax cuts are scheduled to occur in 2018.
IMPORTANT PHONE NUMBER
Most Missourians are unaware of the elder abuse and neglect hotline phone number. This toll-free phone number is operated by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, and is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Staff is available to receive the phone calls, with the exception of the late night shift which occurs from midnight until seven in the morning. Recorded messages may be left during the late night shift. No staff is available during this time period because of budget cuts.
One of the goals of MCQC is to educate the general public about the existence of this important phone number. This year, MCQC has run ads on national public radio stations in Cape Girardeau, Rolla, Columbia and Maryville. In addition, ads were purchased in the Boone County Journal and recently in the Lee's Summit Tribune. There are plans to expand this education program throughout the state.
PAUL PEPPER SHOW
Ann Bickel, a member of the MCQC board, will appear on the Paul Pepper Show in October. The show can be heard on KBIA radio in Columbia, Missouri. Ann will appear for the third time on the show and will discuss issues related to long-term care. National Resident Rights Week is in October.
According to a poll by the Associated Press, a majority of Americans over the age of 40 believe that Medicare should cover the cost of long-term care. Current costs are extremely high for home care and nursing home services. Many Americans cannot afford such cost and eventually exhaust their life savings to pay for the expense of long-term care. They eventually qualify for Medicaid.
In today's political environment, it seems unlikely that Medicare will be expanded to cover long-term care anytime soon.
HELP IS NEEDED
Facts are simple. If a person is forced to make a choice between entering a long-term care facility or remaining in their home, most people would prefer to stay home. To do so, they need help. Transportation, personal care, and home delivered meals are important services to enable individuals to stay home. Unfortunately, these programs have experienced funding reductions on both the state and national level. More reductions are anticipated.
There is one program that the general public can help. That program involves home delivered meals. Funding for home delivered meals is provided from a variety of sources. This includes government funding and donations from the general public. Senior centers welcome donations, as well as local Meals on Wheels programs .Waiting lists for home delivered meals currently exist throughout the state. This year, MCQC made donations to eight senior centers for the Meals on Wheels program. This program is critical to ensure that Missourians can remain in their homes. If you are able to do so, we suggest making a donation to this program. Even small donations can provide great results.
The mission of MCQC is to improve the quality of care and quality of life of residents in long-term care facilities and recipients of in-home care