New state budget could keep health programs in place and seniors in their homes

Posted at 6:33 PM, Nov 17, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-17 19:43:54-05

BROKEN ARROW, Okla. -- After weeks of tough negotiations, Oklahoma lawmakers passed a budget on Friday.

They ended up cutting about $60 million from state agencies. Now the bill moves to the governor's desk.

With the new budget slashing only a fourth of the original proposed cuts, DHS programs such as the in-home waiver and ADvantage will continue to get funding in the year ahead.

When we spoke to Barbara Woodard earlier in the month she was unsure of the place she could call home by December. Now she'll decide between moving in with family, or staying in her current apartment. 

Woodard said over these past few weeks, her community has felt forgotten.

"It was so devastating to know that the most vulnerable people in our society... they were attacking," she said.

Diakonos Senior Living gave eviction notices to close to 30 people.

"That's one of the toughest things that we've ever had to do as a healthcare provider. To say that there's nobody to take care of you because there's nobody to pay for it," CEO Scott Pilgrim said.

The ADvantage Program helps place seniors in assisted living facilities or get care within their own home. About 200 seniors across the state were at risk of being homeless after cuts.

"I wish they could come and live with us for a week and see what we have to go through when we have to be torn up like this," resident Ann Kochell said.

The bill passed the senate by a vote of 29 to 14. This will impact about 20,000 people in the ADvantage Program alone. Health agencies statewide will still lose about $15 million, much less than the original $70 million in proposed cuts. This would have eliminated programs like ADvantage entirely.


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