Lawmakers and Advocates Respond to Governor’s Latest Budget and the Impact on Seniors and Caregivers

October 19, 2017



State Senator Kevin Kelly (R-Stratford) and advocates discuss the importance of aging-in-place initiatives at the Shelton Senior Center, Thursday, October 19th.

HARTFORD, Conn. – Today State Senator and Co-Chairman of the Aging Committee, Kevin Kelly (R-Stratford) and advocates for seniorsreleased the following statements regarding Governor Malloy’s latest budget proposal and the negative impact it will have on seniors and their caregivers.

“During my time in the State Senate I have witnessed this administration continually disregard the needs of our seniors and their caregivers, and the high costs associated with long-term care for the elderly,” said Sen. Kelly. “In Connecticut seniors make up 14 percent of the state’s population and the state allocates roughly 10 percent of the annual state budget for long-term care for seniors. By 2032 the number of our seniors is expected to increase by nearly 69 percent, making Connecticut seniors one quarter of the total population. If we continue to spend in the same way, without establishing a more cost-effective path forward, the state will be spending roughly $5 billion on nursing home care by 2032. But instead of pursing cost-effective ways to address our aging population the governor’s proposal erodes many essential community based programs, programs that make it affordable for families to meet the high expenses of staying at home –which is actually more cost-effective for the state and where a majority of seniors wish to remain. The fact that the governor refuses to acknowledge the importance of at home care and the value of caregivers to seniors is striking. We need to enhance Connecticut’s home care infrastructure now so that we can enable the greatest generation to age-in-place and to achieve the savings that are so necessary given our budget problems. The steps, the actions and the cuts that the governor is taking not only puts seniors at risk today, but it is going to fiscally ruin the state tomorrow; his vision is unaffordable, his vision is short-sighted, his vision is flawed. A state budget is meant to set priorities and reflect what the core values of Connecticut should be, and it is shameful that the governor refuses to make seniors and their caregivers a priority.”

These cuts often hurt seniors with the least financial ability to pay for the services they need, including:

  • New Copay added to CT Home Care Services for Elders (2009)
  • Home Care Copay increased (7%) (2011)
  • Reduction in the Community Spouse Protected Amount (2011)
  • Reduction in the Personal Needs Allowance (2011)
  • Home Care Copay increased again (9%) (2015)
  • Level 1 home care for seniors at risk of nursing home placement CLOSED (2015)
  • Alzheimer’s respite care cut (2015)
  • Alzheimer’s respite care cut again (2016)
  • $6 Million in Aging-in-Place funding CANCELLED (2017)

“Over the past few years, seniors have faced tens of millions of dollars in cuts to home care services, senior nutrition and additional core services; new co-pays and fees; and a more than 25 percent reduction in Alzheimer’s respite,” said Nora Duncan, state director of AARP Connecticut. “These cuts often hit the same seniors – ones with the least financial ability to pay – multiple times and threatens their ability to age with dignity at home.”

The governor’s latest budget has proposed even deeper cuts to aging-in-place initiatives here in Connecticut:

  • Elimination of care for seniors at risk of nursing home care
  • Complete freeze on CT Home Care services for vulnerable seniors at nursing home level of need
  • Elimination of Community First Choice (CFC) program that provides personal care assistance to frail seniors and people with disabilities who want to live independently in the community
  • Additional cuts for prescription drugs
  • Elimination of fast-track screening to help seniors qualify for home care services

“Healthcare at home has gained significant importance in the CT State budget debate as home-based care is patient-preferred, highly cost-effective, and a proven savings vehicle for state taxpayers. State data from the Department of Social Services indicates that home and community providers have saved the state budget more than $1-Billion between 2006 and 2016 by transitioning Medicaid clients from nursing homes and hospitals to home-based care through the Money Follows the Person (MFP) and other person-centered Medicaid initiatives. Our Medicaid system is fragile. Home based providers have not received a reimbursement rate increase in 10 years and are required to do more with less. Providers are opting out of the Medicaid program due to intense regulatory burdens. Access to home-based care for our most fragile state Medicaid beneficiaries and seniors is becoming a challenge. Jeopardizing a system that is working, filling a vital need, and creating significant cost savings to the State budget is not an option,” said CEO, CT Association for Healthcare at Home, Deborah Hoyt.

“The Southwestern Agency on Aging hopes that strong consideration will be given to the importance of keeping older adults healthy and in their own homes.  Programs like the Connecticut Home Care Program and Medicare Savings Program help the State avoid millions of dollars in nursing facility expense by providing low cost, in-home alternatives to nursing home care.  Dismantling the progress and the savings achieved by these programs will result in poor health outcomes for older adults and even greater State expenditures for institutional Medicaid coverage,” said Executive Director of the Southwestern CT Agency on Aging, Marie Allen.

 “CTNAELA and our attorneys work diligently to benefit Connecticut’s Seniors, Disabled, Veterans, and their families.  We continue to work with, and support Sen. Kelly to preserve our clients’ rights, particularly in light of the current State budget issues.  Our efforts aim to allow our clients the support to remain in the community at a fraction of what it would otherwise cost the State to institutionalize them.  We look forward to working with Sen. Kelly and the administration to benefit Connecticut’s Seniors, and reduce the impact programs may have on the State budget,” said President of CTNAELA, Amy Orlando.