Friday, June 6, 2014

MI Choice program accepting new applicants

MI Choice Waiver Program that helps seniors, disabled stay in home, accepting applicants

Shannon Patton with some of the birdhouses and other items she makes in her spare time. She has caregivers come to her Oxford home to help her with cooking, dressing and shopping daily under the MI Choice program. Photo submitted by Jerry Wolffe


MORC Home Care: MI Choice Medicaid Waiver program
Phone: 1-866-593-7413
Shannon Patton of Oxford can spend her free time painting birdhouses in the comfort of her home instead of living in a nursing home.
That’s because she’s receiving daily help from the MI Choice Waiver program. It uses Medicaid funds to hire caregivers to come into her apartment and help her with dressing, cooking and cleaning.
Patton, 52, has been receiving services for three years which she says “are just wonderful.”
Several women take turns seven days a week, 2.5 hours a day, to help Patton, so she can stay in her apartment. Patton has juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.
“They make my meals,” she said. “They also help me take a bath or shower, do housework, change bed sheets, do laundry, vacuum, dust furniture and do whatever needs to be done.
“They have helped me so much,” Patton said. “MI Choice even provided money so I could have a portable air conditioning unit.”
Her service provider is Bay Nursing of Romeo.
Another MI Choice recipient, Michael Renaud, 48, of St. Clair Shores, incurred a spinal cord injury 11 years ago in a diving accident.
He receives 42 hours of service a week.
“This allows me to stay in my home,” said the father of two adult daughters, and husband of Kirsten. He has been a coach of a traveling women’s fast-pitch softball team since 1998 involving 21 different teams.
Caregivers also drive him to games that he coaches. He receives help in bathing, dressing and eating.
In addition, they do light cleaning of his home, shop for food and pick up medicine and take Renaud, who is paralyzed from the shoulders down, to medical appointments.
“Without this help, I’d be in a nursing home,” he said. “My wife also wouldn’t be able to work because there’d be no one to help me.”
After an initial intake review, those accepted in the MI Choice Waiver program are given a list of vendors who supply trained workers to come into the home to help a senior or a person with a disability with daily living tasks, said Marcia Marklin, MORC’s Home Care Program Manager.
Services include adult day care, help with chores, counseling, community living supports, home modifications, delivering meals, helping obtain medical equipment and supplies, private duty nursing, respite care, training and some transportation.
Medicaid pays the cost of MI Choice services.
To be eligible, recipients of aid must be Medicaid eligible, 18 years of age or older with a disability who would otherwise require living in a nursing home, or be at least 65 in need of nursing home care.
Financial eligibility includes not having $2,000 or more in cash or investments and an annual income of $21,163 for a single person or $42,326 for a family of two. Recipients can own a car and home.
People living in Oakland, Macomb, Livingston, Monroe, St. Clair and Washtenaw counties are eligible for MI Choice services through MORC.
Marklin said MORC recently transitioned about 15 to 20 people out of nursing homes into their own place to live. Those receiving services are 18 to 96.
“This program is about allowing people to live a life with dignity in the setting of their choice,” she said.
“This is an important service because our society and government never adequately prepared for the needs of seniors and those with disabilities,” she said.
“MORC Home Care is open for intake. Call if you have need, or want to know more about the program.”
Those interested in receiving help from MI Choice should call the Macomb-Oakland Regional Center’s intake line at 1-866-593-7413.

Jerry Wolffe is the writer-in-residence and advocate-at-large at the Macomb-Oakland Regional Center. He can be reached at 586 263-8950.