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In-home care plan revamped

March 25, 2001

In-home care plan revamped

By STACEY DANZUSO / Staff Writer, Chambersburg


CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - In a move designed to provide residents more choice and avoid a conflict of interest, the Franklin County Department of Human Services is restructuring in-home care services provided to the county's older residents.

Beginning July 1, new clients of the county's in-home services program for the elderly will be able to choose from two other service providers besides the county.

The potential conflict of interest arises because the county's Agency on Aging has been responsible for determining whether a resident over the age of 60 is eligible for in-home services, and has also been the sole provider of the services it determines are needed, said Lynn Clinton, director of the Agency on Aging.

As of July 1, the Franklin County In-Home Services program, which will continue to employ eight full-time workers to provide personal care, home support and evironmental modifications, will fall under the umbrella of the county Human Services department. Home support services includes light housekeeping, while environmental modifications involve installing ramps, railings and other devices.

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No one who is working at the Agency on Aging's in-home services office will lose a job due to the restructuring, Clinton said.

New in-home services clients will be able to choose service providers from among the county, ADDUS Healthcare and Lutheran Care Advantage.

The Agency on Aging will continue to assess residents' needs for the services.

The Franklin County Commissioners approved the two additional providers - ADDUS and Lutheran Care Advantage - last week, in order to give new clients an alternative to just the county providers.

"They will have the option of choosing. It will no longer be (just) a direct service from the county," Clinton said.

The Agency on Aging currently provides services to 186 seniors in Franklin County.

"Clients currently served will continue to be served. Clients won't notice a change," Clinton said.

Franklin County Agency on Aging was one of a few such agencies statewide still providing direct service.

"The county wants recipients of services to have options of who their service provider will be," said County Commissioner G. Warren Elliott.

Both ADDUS and Luther Care Advantage already work with several Franklin County residents.

Only the Franklin County In-Home Services will make environmental modifications.

Current county rates are about $3 an hour higher than ADDUS or Lutheran for in-home care.

But the cost difference shouldn't be a problem, Eliott said.

"The state of Pennsylvania pays the cost, so clients can pick whoever they choose," he sad. "This is the changing nature of social services to be client-directed where the recipient can make the decisions."

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