2021 Accomplishments Countdown: Delivering for Older Michiganders

2021 Accomplishments Countdown: Delivering for Older Michiganders

Governor Whitmer counts down to 2022 by highlighting administration’s progress on 10 kitchen-table issues that makes a difference in people’s lives

(AMN) – The Whitmer-Gilchrist administration is counting down the last 10 days of 2021 by celebrating Michigan’s progress on 10 fundamental kitchen-table issues. Today we celebrate progress Michigan has made on delivering for older Michiganders.

“We have to do more to help older Michiganders access affordable healthcare, retire with dignity, and have attainable, affordable housing,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “I am committed to driving down the cost of prescription drugs, easing the tax burden on seniors, and expanding access to nursing homes and alternatives. We will build on our reputation as an ‘age-friendly’ state and continue putting seniors first.”  

“Services to our aging population are a critically important part of the work we do,” said Elizabeth Hertel, Director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. “We have made changes within our agency designed to deliver services more efficiently and that empower seniors with the choice to age in their own homes.”  

Getting Things Done 

The Whitmer administration helped Michigan become the first “Age-Friendly State” in the Midwest to ensure the state is prepared for dramatic and imminent demographic changes and that communities can take steps to accommodate all ages.  

In state budgets year after year, the governor consistently invested in programs supporting older Michiganders including increasing nursing home support payments; expanding services to age in place, senior home care, and access to senior centers; improving preventative services, transportation options, and meal delivery; and combatting elder abuse. 

The governor signed an executive order creating the new Health and Aging Services Administration (HASA) within the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) to provide more coordinated services to Michigan’s growing aging population by combining the former MDHHS Aging and Adult Services Agency and Medical Services Administration under one umbrella within MDHHS. Michigan’s Medicaid Office is also part of the new HASA.   

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Whitmer made seniors a priority by protecting residents and staff in long-term care facilities. Executive Order (EO) 2020-191 maintained strong protocols in nursing homes to protect seniors. The governor signed another EO establishing the Nursing Home Workforce Stabilization Council to identify review, develop, and recommend policies, administrative actions, legislative changes, and other approaches to support high-quality nursing home care. 

Key Numbers 

  • Proposed an elimination of the pension tax to provide an $800 tax break to over 400,000 seniors with pensions in Michigan.  
  • Health care professionals have administered the highly effective vaccine to 44,000 current nursing home, adult foster care, and homes-for-the-aged residents who are fully vaccinated and have provided 23,500 residents with booster doses.  
  • The state has supported distribution of nearly 1.6 million tests to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in long-term care facilities 
  • Oversaw the delivery of 1,279,594 meals to elderly adults in congregate care. 

Additional accomplishments delivering for older Michiganders can be found here. 

“Here in Marquette and Alger Counties, we have seen a 20% increase in the need for Home Delivered Meals in the last 20 months,” said Lori Stephens Brown & Julie Shaw, Co-chairs Marquette Senior Provider Network. “This increased need, along with the unprecedented increase in food costs and a shortage of workers, has made providing meals for homebound seniors a challenge. Without increased funding and support Marquette and Alger County seniors would be put on a waiting list for meals, and many of our seniors cannot wait for services. We applaud Governor Whitmer’s efforts in protecting our seniors by making Michigan the first Age-Friendly state in the Midwest. These funds are also necessary to help meet the dramatically rising cost of providing these essential in-home services. As providers face the imminent increase in seniors needing services, it is reassuring to know the Governor has plans in place to invest in programs that help seniors attain a better quality of life.”