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Sequestration, reduced state funding cause cutbacks for senior services



washoe-150x150-9518254-4061238Due to federal sequestration and reduced State funding, notices on the June 30 closing of the Washoe County Senior Services Visiting Nurse Program were sent out yesterday. The notices were sent to the current client caseload of 15 people and their pharmacists, physicians, case managers and home health agencies.

Washoe County Senior Services staff has plans in place to contact every homebound or high risk client in person by June 30 to explain the cutbacks in the Visiting Nurse Program and assist them with options. A department case manager will stay in touch after the closing as there are clients who will need long-term Medicaid services. Should they decline assistance, they will be referred to Elder Protective Services.

“This is a critical program, and it needs to be restored,” said Director of Senior Services Grady Tarbutton. “If all of the programs’ homebound high risk seniors are institutionalized, and there are approximately 15 each year that are eligible for institutional care, it could cost Nevada taxpayers more than $500,000 a year.”

Tarbutton added long-term care averages over $80,000 per year, per person in Nevada, but the program costs are half of that at approximately $40,000 per year. Senior Services is seeking partnerships and other grant funds to find a way to continue the program.

“The blood pressure and medication review clinics are essential for the more than 200 people a year that use this vital service,” said Tarbutton. “Most live alone with no family support, and they need assistance with basic health care. Our nurse is critical to seniors and staff routinely has to call 911 for someone who has dangerous blood pressure issues.”

For more information on Washoe County Senior Services, please visit: www.washoecounty.us/seniorsrv.

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