By Mark Boutwell, Executive Director
With the new year, every day brings a little more light into our lives. As Senior Solutions closes out our 50th year, I can’t help but look forward to the longer daylight hours and the opportunities that lie ahead. There are several significant changes on the horizon within the world of services for older Vermonters that are creating exciting opportunities this year. Allow me to share a few of these new opportunities.
On December 13, the Vermont Department of Disabilities, Aging and Independent Living (DAIL) announced the long-awaited decision on the future of conflict-free case management services for participants in the Medicaid long-term care Choices for Care program. Over the next two years, case management services for all Choices for Care recipients will be transitioned to the five area agencies on aging (AAAs) in Vermont. This transition could easily double our case management caseloads, requiring us to significantly expand our workforce. This is both tremendously exciting and, truthfully, a little daunting given the current workforce challenges.
Fortunately, the five Vermont area agencies on aging have already taken steps to develop the statewide infrastructure needed to support this new program shift. Furthermore, we are working closely with DAIL to facilitate a smooth transition of these services.
At the same time, DAIL will be undergoing a leadership change as the current Commissioner, Monica White, has resigned her position as of January 12, 2024. Commissioner White has been an important champion of aging services in Vermont. On more than one occasion, I encountered her participating in community events and hosted her at our Springfield office so she could get a ground-level view of how services are being delivered and where the greatest needs are. Her attentiveness and personable approach have been refreshing and reassuring. We wish her all the best in her new endeavors.
Locally, I am excited to announce that Renee Woliver has joined Senior Solutions as the Communications/Outreach Director. I look forward to having a full-time colleague dedicated to coordinating all our communications and outreach activities. Serendipitously, we have a second Renee joining our staff as a new case manager in the Brattleboro office. Renee Weltch is filling the position of long-time case manager, Claudia McCarthy, who retired in December. In December, we also welcomed Taylor Mortimer as our new office manager.
Senior Solutions has joined the other AAAs in preparation for the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) accreditation for the case management team. Achieving this accreditation certifies that the Senior Solutions case management program has met stringent practice standards. At the same time, I am taking steps to expand our services to a wider audience. I am working with our community partners on ways to successfully expedite client referrals and strategies to extend our care coordination services to a broadening demographic. And I’m in conversation with administrators at our local hospitals about how Senior Solutions can be a partner in improving their discharge outcomes.
As we celebrate the new year, I am enormously grateful to all the very caring staff at Senior Solutions who work tirelessly to meet our clients’ needs. I know that their dedication to this work brings light into a great many lives. People bringing light into the lives of others is the message of the season. This is central to the work we do every day and is why we celebrate the opportunities to do more of that and do it better.
Thank you all for sharing the journey.