South Hills Retirement Residents learn more about medical, home based services at program
November 21, 2017
South Hills Retirement Residence recently hosted an impactful program for seniors with representatives from the Sto-Rox Neighborhood Health Council, Allentown Senior Citizens Center and Bridges Hospice presenting in the South Hilltop neighborhood.
Peter Kaufmann, Community Outreach and insurance navigator at Sto-Rox Family and Hilltop Community Health Centers believes that many seniors in the community have resources available to them they may not even realize.
“So often, seniors in our community don’t get access to healthcare because they think they can’t afford the copays or can’t get a ride to their appointments. Health Centers like Sto-Rox Family Health and Hilltop enable all members of our community to receive quality healthcare as a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC). At Sto-Rox, Hilltop and other FQHC’s, there is a sliding-scale payment system which allows everyone to pay what they can. No one is turned away if they can’t pay, which is truly what healthcare is meant to be,” Mr. Kaufmann said.
Sto-Rox Health Center offers pediatric and adult medicine, as well as optometry, podiatry, dental services and navigating services on healthcare.gov.
Cyndie Carioli, the services and activities coordinator at the Allentown Senior Citizens Center, shared Mr. Kaufmann’s sentiments. An employee of the Allentown Senior Center for more than 10 years, Ms. Carioli believes transportation for the elderly can be a daunting task if people don’t know what programs are available to help.
ACCESS, OPT (Older Persons Transportation) and other Senior Ride Programs are available to make transportation accessible to all seniors, and are easy (though sometimes time consuming) to coordinate once you know how. Transportation is a significant barrier for the elderly to getting healthcare, but it doesn’t have to be. Ms. Carioli presented information on coordinating transportation services for seniors.
“Healthcare is coming home, and it’s critically important for seniors and their families to understand their options and how to coordinate them” said Brendan Kelley, director of Professional Services with Bridges Hospice. “So many of our elderly want to be home at the end of their lives, and unfortunately without the proper planning, the opposite is what often happens.
Health insurance companies are increasingly cutting stays in hospitals and nursing homes through third party managed care companies that are incentivized to save the insurance company money, and the more educated our seniors are to their options, the better choices they’ll be able to make on their own behalf.
“Having the right resources and support system makes all the difference, and that’s what we’re here to help these folks understand. We need to really open up the dialogue on what kind of care our seniors want and need, and how best to match those needs to available resources. It’s really a strong effort towards patient advocacy,” Mr. Kelley said.