Editor’s note: This story had been updated to include a comment from the Georgia Health Care Association.
Georgia’s new leader is proposing putting almost $2 million in extra funds for community-based services, targeted at keeping seniors out of nursing homes.
Gov. Brian Kemp (R) last week unveiled his new spending plan for fiscal 2020, the Georgia Health News reported Tuesday. There are currently about 7,000 individuals on on a waiting list for help with everything from bathing to dressing, housekeeping and transportation to the doctor’s office.
Adding the extra $1.9 million would mean that about 1,000 Georgians could take advantage of those offerings, according to the Georgia Council on Aging.
“We are so grateful to the governor for his insight and budget recommendation,” GCOA Chair Vicki Johnson said in a statement. “Not only is this the most cost-efficient way of helping our elderly citizens, but it also allows them to stay in their homes where they prefer to be.”
The group estimated that home and community-based services cost about a tenth of the price tag for nursing home care.
“It’s far less expensive than the alternatives, and it’s giving our seniors and their families an option they want and need,” Johnson added.
In 2017, about 34,000 Georgia residents received community services, a nearly 10% increase from the previous year. Kemp’s spending proposal still needs approval from the Georgia General Assembly and, if approved, would take effect on July 1.
Georgia Health Care Association spokeswoman Devon Barill said the group is supportive of the funding allocation. “We believe the focus should always be on ensuring elderly and disabled Georgians are being provided high-quality care in the most appropriate setting for the specific individual,” she told McKnight’s.
She added that the GHCA plans to continuing working with the governor’s office and legislature to ensure that there are more dollars for nursing centers. The initial budget proposal keeps such funding flat, Barill noted.