Hamilton County Programs Aim To Meet Underserved Senior Healthcare Needs

Mar 12, 2019

Hamilton County is preparing to partner with several agencies to improve senior care. The programs are funded through the Senior Services Levy last approved by voters in 2017.

During the last levy cycle, Hamilton County commissioners identified three areas they wanted to focus on expanding: senior homeless respite, senior patient navigation and senior home care services. An amount of $750,000 - $250,000 per area - was designated.

The county requested bids for all three areas and is nearly ready to proceed with two; no bids were received for home care services.

"A lot of homeless [seniors] are not able to receive services at a traditional homeless shelter given the level of medical that they have," says Lisa Webb, senior policy manager. She's recommending the county contract with the Center for Respite Care. It has 20 onsite beds so seniors can receive the more extensive care they need.

The board is expected to approve that contract Thursday.

A contract with CareStar for patient navigation services is in the works and expected by the end of the month. Webb says Care Star will work with St. Vincent de Paul to identify people who need help figuring out the complex healthcare nexus.

"The idea is for the patient navigators to help facilitate and improve healthcare access and the quality to underserved populations through advocacy and care coordination of services," says Webb.

Commissioner Stephanie Summerow Dumas is disappointed by the lack of bids on the home care aspect. "It tells me we need to look further or throw the net out further because there are plenty of agencies that provide home care services," says Summerow Dumas. "I certainly say that we put out the bid again for this."

Commission President Denise Driehaus put forward the idea of using the funds set aside for home care services for caregiver support services.

County Administrator Jeff Aluotto suggested doing more market research before proceeding with the bid process again.

The issue is tabled for now.