By Michelle Durham

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Philadelphia Corporation for Aging held a press conference this morning to call attention to what it says will be “alarming” changes in the agency’s ability to care for the city’s growing population of the elderly.

PCA says it’s due to new state regulations that take effect July 1st.

At issue is the Medicaid-funded “Aging Waiver” Program, provided through the Pennsylvania Department of Welfare, which provides home nursing care for the elderly as an alternative to a nursing home.

PCA care manager Celeste Paylor-Sulaiman says that due to the new state rules, the time she spends with each person she cares for will be significantly shortened.  And that, she says, will diminish the quality of care.

“A lot of the information that I get comes from normal conversation, and I am able to pick up on things they mention,” she notes.

Bobbi Jones, cares for her 92-year-old mother, says she worries that it will now become her responsibility to chase down agencies and spend hours filling out forms for care — things that PCA helps her with now:

“What will happen to my mother’s quality of life now?  Will there be accessibility to these coordinators to address the condition of my mother, which changes from day to day?”

Anne Bales, a spokeswoman for the state Welfare Department, says the state is not trying to eliminate the registered nurses who oversee care and eligibility requirements will not change.  What is changing, Bale says, is that senior citizens and their families will have the choice of using an alternate social services provider.

Read the recent KYW Regional Affairs Council series, “Downsizing Your Senior Life”



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