September 2, 2014

County approves contract for aging services

Lynne Hermansen
Special to the Gardner News
Johnson County Board of Commissioners, reluctantly, approved a $659,000 contract between the Area Agency on Aging and the Southwest Kansas Area Agency for Aging on Monday, November 8, that would allow for the operation of the Aging and Disability Resource Center.
“This center will provide for the frail elderly, physically disabled and those with traumatic brain injuries,” Debbie Collins, Director of Johnson County Human Services, said. “We’ll have information and referrals, eligibility assessments and counseling.”
The center’s contract goes through until Sept. 30, 2013 with a renewable option for two additional one year periods.
However, Collins said, they will have limited resources.
“We are being asked to do things by the state that we can’t afford to do,” she said.
ThesState of Kansas will only reimburse a counseling contact $35 per person.
“This is not enough,” Collins said. “It is not enough to send counselors out into the field.”
This leaves a heavy reliance on telephone counseling, she said.
“We have grave concerns, because the population doesn’t comprehend through these means,” she said. “The best case is people can come in face to face, but many we are serving our homebound with no transportation means.”
Collins said she, also worries about a lack of oversight and control.
“I have a great deal of skeptical optimism,” she said, “but unfortunately this is the hand we were dealt.”
Chairman Ed Eilert said he thinks the public’s expectations for the level of service is going to have to take a significant adjustment.
“I would hope in some way that the state’s foreseeing in lowered is made public,” he said.
Collins said it’s not our responsibility locally to check the quality of managed care facilities.
“I can’t imagine there won’t be some quality and oversight by the state,” she said.
Michael Ashcraft, 5th District Commissioner, told Collins it appeared she was implying a lack of transparency.
“I want the system to be successful, and right now it seems like it’s just floating out there, and that’s troublesome,” he said.
When asked again about $35 per contact the state reimburses, Collins said an extra $140,000 would be needed to make their work effective.
“Twenty percent of the people we serve would really need face-to-face contact,” she said.
Calvin Hayden, 6th District Commissioner, the board would need to know if the center isn’t working or needs additional funding.
“I don’t like this as an experiment, especially with the frail and elderly,” he said.
Second District Commissioner Jim Allen said it was a big issue for the county, especially being the biggest county in the state.
“We don’t make the rules unfortunately,” he said. “But the county has a history of doing the right thing and will continue to do the right thing. Seniors and elderly deserve quality of life.”
Also approved by the Board:
Authorization of term and supply contracts for 2013 model year vehicles with Landmark Dodge, Dick Smith Ford, Roberts Chevrolet, Shawnee Mission Ford, Diamond International, Olathe Ford, Midway Truck, Cable Dahmer Chevrolet, MHC Kenworth, Northtown Auto Group and Kansas City Freightliner for $1,250,000.
Approved requests from Mark Huggins, Payne and Brockway, applicants for Gail Messenger, GMW Partners LLC to rezone a former Rural District at 191st and Metcalf into a Residential Neighborhood and Retail Business District, which would include an outdoor storage yard and landscape, lawn and irrigation business.
Approved a request from Phelps Engineering and S&J Real Estate to rezone approximately 105 acres at 207th and Nall streets back to a Rural District to be known as Oakleaf Ridge.
And finally approved a renewal for Clear Choice Wireless to continue use for the next ten years for an existing 120-foot tall monopole that contains communication antennas and stadium lighting at Blue Valley High School.

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