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Maine Department of Health and Human Services Announces Aging and Long-Term Care Initiative

May 7, 2019
Human Services

AUGUSTA – The Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) announced today an initiative that aims to improve care and services for older Mainers and adults with disabilities.

The Department will convene an Aging and Long-Term Services and Supports Advisory Group, which will advise DHHS on how to reform and improve Maine's system of services. This work will include establishing long-term priorities as well as short-term objectives, such as expanding access to services in residents' homes and communities and improving coordination of care for beneficiaries who are eligible for both Medicaid (MaineCare) and Medicare.

The group will consist of approximately a dozen individuals appointed by Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew, representing consumers, advocates, legislators, providers, experts and the Department. It will meet three times between June and October 2019 and produce a report this fall that proposes specific reforms.

The Department also will coordinate public listening sessions with the Advisory Group across the state to gather perspectives on Maine's aging and long-term services and supports system. Further details, including dates and locations, will be announced in the coming weeks. These sessions will complement a statewide assessment already being conducted as part of the renewal of Maine's State Plan on Aging, a roadmap for meeting the needs of Maine's seniors and adults with disabilities.

By 2036, over one-fourth of the residents in every Maine county will be aged 65 or older. The cost of full-time home care in Maine - about $54,000 for 44 hours of care per week exceeds the state's median income.

"This initiative is a critical next step in adapting our systems to support Maine's aging population," said Commissioner Lambrew. "We aim to develop and expand a variety of high-quality services to promote our seniors' health, independence, and quality of life."

"We are committed to helping Maine's older residents and people with disabilities preserve their independence and live safely where they wish," said Paul Saucier, director of the Department's Office of Aging and Disability Services. "We look forward to creating a well-coordinated system that is inclusive, accountable, and sustainable."

The initiative was announced this morning at the Department's Convening on Aging and Long-term Services and Supports meeting in Hallowell. Approximately 60 stakeholders from throughout the state, including Area Agencies on Aging, advocates, providers, and legislators attended the meeting to help shape the future of aging and long-term services and supports in Maine.  The meeting began with the announcement that Governor Mills has proclaimed May as Older Americans Month in recognition of the contributions of older adults to the State of Maine.