Pat Moss of Ardmore is a member of the ADvantage Waiver Program.

For more than 20 years, many frail, elderly and disabled Oklahomans with limited means have relied on the ADvantage Waiver Program to receive at-home care. Without a line item in the next state budget, funding for these services may be cut, putting the lives of these Medicaid beneficiaries in jeopardy.
The ADvantage Waiver Program enables more than 23,000 Oklahomans to retain their independence and stay at home as long as possible, instead of being institutionalized. Under the program, qualified Oklahomans receive assistance that includes:
· Picking up groceries and medicine
· Assisting with bathing and grooming
· Providing housekeeping to maintain a clean, safe environment
· Giving respite care for other caregivers
“The ADvantage Program has been a vital part of my life, and I truly believe I would not have lived without it,” said Sarah Hadyn Smith of Norman. “It has given me a life worth living in a difficult time of serious illness.”
Funding cuts to the ADvantage Waiver Program could be devastating. Frail and elderly Oklahomans would be forced into institutions at greatly increased cost. More than 10,000 employees will struggle to deliver quality care and Oklahoma businesses will leave the program. In addition, these employees may have their wages cut or lose their jobs and turn to other state services.
“Many of our members do not have family to care for them and just need a little extra help to remain in their home. Under this program, providers deliver needed care at a much more affordable rate than nursing homes,” said Steve Goforth, president and founder of Tulsa-based Oxford HealthCare and legislative officer for the Home and Community Based Services Council (HCBSC).
“Preserving the ADvantage Waiver Program is the financially conservative and responsible choice. It prevents overuse of the emergency room and unnecessary institutionalization,” said Lola Edwards, president of HCBSC. “Cuts will create serious health and safety risks to the most vulnerable Oklahomans and cost the state more in the long run.”
The Council will hand-deliver over 500 member letters of support to legislators at the capitol on March 30.
HCBSC is asking the Oklahoma Legislature to sustain current funding to the ADvantage Waiver Program through a line item in the state budget.
About the Home and Community Based Services Council-
The Council is comprised of 10 provider agencies delivering services to Oklahoma’s elderly and disabled in 38 communities. The agencies represent 80 percent of all services delivered in the ADvantage Waiver Program and State Plan Personal Care Program.