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Senior and Long Term Care

Mission
To advocate and promote dignity and independence for older Montanans and Montanans with disabilities by:

  • Providing information, education, and assistance;
  • Planning, developing and providing for quality long-term care services; and
  • Operating within a cost–effective service delivery system.

Services
The division administers aging services, adult protective services, and the state’s two veterans' homes.  It also helps to fund care for elderly and disabled Montanans who are eligible for Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

The Office on Aging develops a State Plan on Aging and approves service delivery plans and programs developed by 10 Area Agencies on Aging located across Montana. Among the services provided by the area agencies are senior centers, Meals on Wheels, health services, transportation, home chore services, and information referral and assistance services.  The Office on Aging houses the Long-Term Care Ombudsman, Elderly Legal Assistance, State Health Insurance and Assistance Program (SHIP). We are looking for Montana Centenarians.

The Long-Term Care Ombudsman is an advocate for all residents of long-term care facilities, especially nursing homes and personal care homes.  The ombudsman can provide information or direct assistance related to the health, safety, and rights of of residents.

The Legal Services Developer Program provides training for seniors, family members, and others on elder-specific laws. The program develops pro-bono and local legal service referrals, training materials, and telephone assistance to seniors.

The State Health Insurance Program (SHIP) provides Medicare and related health insurance information, counseling, assistance and advocacy to Montana Medicare beneficiaries, their family members,  caregivers, and local professionals.  statewide source of program information for beneficiaries of Medicare, Medicaid, Medicare supplemental policies, long-term care insurance, and other heath insurance benefits.

The Information, Assistance and Referral Program is a service designed to link Montana seniors, their family members, and caregivers with needed services.  Eighty-two technicians work through the local Area Agencies on Aging to provide information about service, make proper referrals, and do public education and out reach within their communities.

The Adult Protective Services Program employs 36 social workers across the state whose duties include investigating allegations of abuse, neglect, and exploitation for the elderly and people with disabilities.  They also arrange for and coordinate a variety of support services aimed at protecting vulnerable people from abuse and neglect.

The Medicaid Community Services Program pays for personal care, skilled nursing care, home health aides, home dialysis attendants, and hospice care for elderly and disabled people eligible for Medicaid.

The Home and Community Based Services Program contracts with case managers in local communities to arrange for an array of in-home services to enable people in need of care to avoid a stay in a hospital or long-term care facility.

The Medicaid Nursing Facility Services Program pays for short-term and long-term nursing care for individuals eligible for Medicaid.  Sixty percent of nursing care beds in Montana are funded through Medicaid.

The State Supplemental Payments Program supplements the Social Security Supplemental Security Income (SSI) of eligible individuals who live in designated residential care facilities.  These facilities include community homes for individual with developmental or mental disabilities, group homes for individuals with severe disabilities, personal care homes, licensed foster homed, and transitional living homes.

Budget And Staff
The division budget for the 2004-2005 biennium is about $428.4 million.  The largest source of SLTC funding is the federal Medicaid program.  The federal government pays about 72 percent of Medicaid expenditures, while the state pays the remaining 28 percent in matching funds.  Other federal funding includes grants under the Older Americans Act and money to supplement nursing home care from the Department of Veterans' Affairs.  The Montana Veterans' Home is funded in part with money from the state cigarette tax. 

The division employs about 190 people, including staff at the two veterans' homes.