Tuesday, January 29, 2002

Wait list for elderly defended

The Associated Press

        CLEVELAND — Nearly 1,000 elderly Ohioans are on a waiting list for the state's home health-care assistance program even though the program has room for nearly 3,000 more.

        The program, known as Passport, provides help with personal care, meals and chores. State officials say Passport would have to stop taking new clients within weeks if limits were not placed on the number added each month.

        The program lost $7 million in state money, which cost Ohio another $10 million in federal matching funds.

        Limiting enrollment each month is better than closing Passport completely to new clients, said Steve Proctor, spokesman for the Ohio Department of Aging. About 22,000 people are enrolled.

        “If word got out the program was closed, people wouldn't call,” he said. The waiting list “at least gives them hope and access to other services they wouldn't know about if they didn't call.”


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