Elk in Rocky Mountain National Park
 

Office on Aging Advisory Council

January 12, 2006

Minutes

Held at 1501 Blue Spruce Drive

Fort Collins, Colorado  80524

 

Members Present:

Nancy Arthur

Steve Budner

Carolyn Funk

 

Gerry Hinks

Olivia Larry

Barbara Nuss

 

Ellen Pihlstrom

Carol Rehme

Karen Reinhardt

 

Mary Shultz

Lloyd Spawn

Earl Stevens

 

Janet Tosch

Stan Ulrich

Hal Wilson

 

Sharon Zamora

 

 

 

 

 

 

Members Absent

Paul Bell

Elnora McCloughan

 

 

 

 

 

Staff Present:

Tina Barker

Ruth Coberly

Tina Hugo

 

Margaret Long

Katy Mason

Glen Rathgeber

 

Linda Rumney

 

 

 

 

 

 

Guests Present:

 

 

 

CALL TO ORDER

Lloyd Spawn called the meeting to order.

INTRODUCTIONS

Tina Barker introduced Anna Ingram a new intern for the Ombudsman program.

OPEN DISCUSSION/COMMUNITY INPUT

There was no open discussion or community input.

CONSIDERATION OF AGENDA

Margaret Long suggested that the Medicare Part D item will go longer than 5 minutes and that we will need to add a few more items for discussion under the Office on Aging update section. 

CONSIDERATION OF MINUTES OF November 10, 2005                

Earl Stevens motioned the minutes be accepted as printed, Karen Reinhardt seconded the motion.

CHAIR REPORT

Lloyd Spawn announced that he had successful back surgery but is healing slower than anticipated.  Lloyd distributed information to the council regarding a special hand grip and telephone.   Lloyd is waiting to receive a copy of the nutrition committee’s goals.

 

Lloyd announced that Reggie Kemp has resigned from the council due to his work with Bob McCluskey in Denver.  The executive committee will be actively recruiting another elected position to replace Reggie. 

UPDATE OF OFFICE ON AGING

ADRC Grant:

Ruth Coberly reported that Larimer County received a three year pilot grant for the development of an Aging and Disability Resource Center.  This program will streamline access to services.  A job description for a Resource Specialist has been developed.  This position will report to Margaret under the Office on Aging.  The state will be developing a website.  The Office on Aging is partnering with United Way 211, Disabled Resource Services, Adult Eligibility, and the Options for Long-term Care program. 

Transportation Grant: 

Margaret Long reported that Disabled Resource Services received a grant for $10,000. The grant will be used to provide transportation to medical appointments for seniors and persons with disabilities.  The Office on Aging will be the fiscal agent with services to be provided by Disabled Resource Services, Options for Long-term Care, and Catholic Charities Northern.  This will provide a needed resource for many including seniors.  The grant was funded through the Logisticare Foundation. 

Provider Contracts: 

Margaret Long reported that Stacie Hougard has completed the 2006 provider contracts.  Margaret stated that the funding will stay the same with the exception of transportation.  The contracting for transportation services changed from North Front Range MPO to the contract being written directly between the county departments (the Office on Aging and Health & Human Services) and individual transportation providers. 

6-Month Title III Grant Change: 

Margaret Long asked for approval from the council to change the Title III six month budget.  Margaret stated that there is a small amount of money set aside under the Title III Part D for the dental program.  Margaret asked to use that money to pay for temporary staff and increased hours for Katie for the Medicare Prescription Drug plan.  Hal Wilson motioned to accept this change in funding; Mary Shultz seconded the motion to spend $4,200 on the Medicare Prescription Drug Plan. 

 

Margaret alerted the council that there will be a Finance Committee meeting on Wednesday, January 18th in Denver.   At this Legislative hearing, Representative Resberg will bring forth legislation requesting state funds be increased for senior services.  Margaret requested that anyone who can attend do so.

Medicare Part D Update: 

Katy Mason reported that this program has been a nightmare.  Katy described some of the problems that have occurred.  Currently, the Office on Aging is responding to people that are in desperate need of their medications.  Katy recognized and thanked Carolyn Funk, Gerry Hinks, Mary Shultz and Karen Reinhardt for helping with the one on one counseling.  Katy reported that this is not an easy job even with a lot of training.  The Office on Aging is focusing on the Medicare/Medicaid dual eligible people.  All dual-eligible people were to be auto-enrolled by Medicare in a plan as of January 1st.  The Office on Aging staff ran an analysis on the “auto-enrolled” people that contacted our office.   The staff found that at least 75% of the auto enrolled clients were not in the “best” plan.  The staff re-enrolled these people into the “best” plan in December.  Currently, there are clients who have not come in for the analysis of their auto-enrolled plan and are experiencing difficulties when they go to their pharmacy.  Some of their medications are not covered on their plan’s formulary and they are unable to pay the cost of these medications.  Other people can not get their medications because they have not received their plan’s ID cards and the pharmacy can not confirm their enrollment in a plan.  Due to the hold time on the phone with the plans, getting the necessary information to fill prescriptions is very difficult and many times people leave the pharmacy without their medications. 

 

In December, the Office on Aging believed that the people that had been re-enrolled in the “best” plan would not experience difficulties getting medications in January.  However, people who were re-enrolled in the “best” plan in December are also having difficulties getting medications.  Due to a database backlog, for some people there is no record of them being enrolled in a plan.  In many instances, the pharmacists do not have the information needed to fill prescriptions and have not received communication telling them what to do.  The trouble-shooting systems that were put in place to help with problems are difficult to use and in some instances the pharmacies do not know about them or how to use them.   Accessing assistance by telephone is difficult due to the hold time when attempting to contact plans by phone.

 

Basically, the dual eligible population is in crisis.  The Office on Aging is using County General Assistance funds to cover medications when all other options fail.  In addition, the Foundation on Aging is assisting with funding to help pay for medications. 

 

The other huge problem involves people who are on the Medicare savings plans, QMB and SLIMB.  This population is above the Medicaid financial limit, but often cannot afford medications.  Prior to January 1st, this population used prescription assistance programs through the Health District, McKee and pharmaceutical programs.  These programs ended with Medicare Part D.  The QMB and SLIMB people need assistance finding the “best” plan and enrolling in Medicare Part D. 

 

The Office on Aging staff are logging calls and documenting individual situations.  They are receiving approximately 20 calls a day for help with Medicare Part D. 

 

Margaret Long sent emails to Senator Johnson and Steve Tool before Christmas and is waiting for a response.  Margaret also asked the council to consider sending letters and emails to advocate for assistance with this problem.  Margaret stated that twelve states have stepped up to assist dual-eligibles during the transition to Medicare Part D.  These states have guaranteed pharmacies that the state will cover the cost of medications for dual-eligible people while the Federal government resolves problems with the system.  Margaret will send an advocacy information packet to council members that will include case scenarios. 

 

Lloyd Spawn noted that according to the Bylaws, the council shall provide advocacy for all older persons in Larimer County and has a responsibility for older Americans in the regions. 

 

Mary Shultz commented that she found helping this population very humbling. 

 

Karen Reinhardt motioned that the council take on advocating for persons affected by Medicare Part D, doing whatever possible; Hal Wilson seconded the motion. 

SENIOR ADVISORY REPORTS

Fort Collins Senior Advisory Board Report

Margaret Long announced that Marjorie McTaggart will be the new liaison. 

 

Loveland Senior Advisory Board

Earl Stevens reported that Mr. Rick Stenton, from McKee met with the board and presented his goals.  Mr. Stenton reported that they will spend $65 million for the McKee expansion. 

 

Earl commented that the board would like to conduct another computer lab session for the Medicare Prescription Drug Plan during spring break. 

 

Earl announced that there have been changes in VOA policies which include having the supervisor verify volunteers.  This will cause a big problem for Earl and other volunteers. 

 

Earl reported that the City of Loveland will clear the entrance to Chilsen Senior Center of all smokers.

 

Foundation on Aging

Mary Shultz announced that the foundation completed a study of spending over the years.  The foundation dispensed about $44,000 between 1989 and 2005.  During the early years, the funds were primarily used for respite care; more recently funds have been used for prescriptions, eye care and dental care.

 

Larimer County Commissioner

Karen Wagner was not present.

COUCILMEMBER BIOGRAPHY:

Carolyn Funk gave a brief biography of herself.

COMMITTEE & STAFF REPORTS

Education Committee

Mary Shultz discussed setting up a calendar listing senior events to help prevent more than 2 or 3 events happening at the same time.  Mary noted that Margaret was to contact the City of Fort Collins and Mary was to contact United Way 211 to gain more information. 

 

Executive Committee

Lloyd Spawn reported that the committee discussed resignations, confirmation of new members, and committee goals.  Lloyd announced that there will be a Speakers Bureau training after the February meeting. 

 

Health Committee

Nancy Arthur reported that the committee discussed the dental program.  The committee also discussed the problems with Medicare Part D and how they can support the Office on Aging.  Nancy announced that the committee will discuss ways and methods of advocating.  The committee will continue to distribute the Senior Yellow Pages. 

 

Membership Committee

Carolyn Funk reported that membership was discussed during the Executive committee meeting.

 

Nutrition Committee

Hal Wilson reported that the committee is working on cooperation between VOA, Loveland MOW and Fort Collins MOW.  Margaret Long reported that she met with the board of Loveland Meals on Wheels. 

 

Housing Committee

Stan Ulrich reported that the committee completed the housing survey and will make a final revision before sending it to Executive committee.  The next project will be a survey of mobile home parks.

 

Transportation Committee

Karen Reinhardt reported that the committee worked on goals. 

 

Staff Reports

Katy Mason reported that she is gearing up for the launch of the Senior Tax Workoff program.  Katy requested help from the council to distribute and post flyers for the program.  Katy reported the she usually hires about 60 people and turned away about a third of the applicants last year.  Margaret will continue to ask for more money from the county to fund this program. 

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Lloyd Spawn would like to thank the Office on Aging for the holiday luncheon. 

 

ADJOURNMENT

Earl Stevens motioned to adjourn the meeting, Mary Shultz seconded the motion.

 

Background Image: Rocky Mountain National Park by Sue Burke. All rights reserved.