While the number of people age 65 and older in West Virginia is expected to increase by 1.5% by 2025, the amount of workers available to take care of that population is expected to decline by 9%, a home care service expert told state lawmakers on Monday.
About 16% of people in the state are over 65 years old, he said, adding that by 2025, as many as 25% of West Virginians will be 65 and older.
Representing the Home Care Association of West Virginia, Eric Hicks said lawmakers need to continue to focus on elderly in-home care services, local media report. West Virginia currently has four different in-home care programs paid for by the state, three of which are provided through senior centers.
The fourth, known as the Medicaid Aged and Disable Waiver, or ADW, program needs to receive more funding in order to meet the growing need of the state’s senior residents, Hicks told the Select Committee on PEIA, Seniors and Long Term Care. Hicks is also the owner of home care service provider Right-at-Home.
About 7,000 people currently receive care through the waiver program in West Virginia, which provides in-home and community services to those who are eligible.
Spending associated with the waiver program generates about $285 million in business for the state while supporting about 3,700 jobs, he said. Yet, the number of people added to the waiver program has been limited since 2011 due to cutbacks.
Hicks said in order for the program to incorporate the 2,000 people currently awaiting care through the program, it would cost about $45 million, with West Virginia paying about $13 million. The remainder would come from the federal government.
“Our common goal is to get people their care in the lowest cost setting,” he told lawmakers according to Charleston Daily Mail.
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Written by Cassandra Dowell