“This is a tough situation. I’m scared to death for Maine seniors. A new company took over for the state and they don’t have an effective plan,” Richard Dorian

REGION — Woodlands Senior Living of Farmington recently opened its 58-bed assisted living facility. Many families expecting loved ones to move in are instead trying to get required paperwork completed.

Richard Dorian of Wilton discovered such was the case for his mother, Carol. She just turned 82, has dementia and was slated to move into the new Woodlands Long-Term Care Center in Farmington on October 24.

Many seniors hoping to move into assisted living facilities are experiencing delays. The family of Carol Dorian, seen here, discovered a new Long-Term Heath Care/Medical Needs Assessment would need to be completed before she could make the move. (Courtesy photo)

Dorian learned on October 23 that an update to her Long-Term Care Health/Medical Needs Assessment, done last fall, was needed before she could move in.

“There is a new managed care company – Maximus – that is doing this instead of Kepro. I was very distressed to learn that she is in the ‘Pending Queue’, hasn’t been assigned and they have no idea when they might get to her case. Apparently, this is the case with many seniors across the state and with a number of other local seniors who now cannot move into Woodlands.

“We made our plans based on what we were told. My mother moved out of her apartment and is staying with me but she can’t be left alone, so this is extremely disruptive for all of us. My home is not set up for her mobility needs. There are two levels of stairs. She has been in the emergency room three times in the past two weeks due to extreme back pain and osteo-stinosis,” Dorian said in an email on Oct. 24.

In a later phone conversation, Dorian said he had called his state senator, Tom Saviello, the Department of Health and Human Services, Maximus and contacted the Governor’s office.

“This is a tough situation. I’m scared to death for Maine seniors. A new company took over for the state and they don’t have an effective plan. Maximus is the only one that can do the assessments. People have to wait until they can do them

“Maine is the oldest state in the nation. This is only going to get worse. The social justice aspect lit a fire for me. This is about more than my mom,” Dorian said.

On Oct. 26 Saviello said things Kepro had done didn’t move forward when the state changed to Maximus as its contractor. He has spoken with DHHS’ legislative liaison and they are doing everything they can to resolve this issue as soon as possible.

“This is part of the Governor’s efforts to privatize services. There should have been a better plan for the transition. I want to give the Governor’s office credit. They’re going to get this one fixed,” Saviello said.

Later that day Marcie Barnes, executive director of Woodlands, said there are eight seniors waiting for new assessments for the Farmington facility.

“With 12 locations there are potentially 100 seniors waiting for placement and care. The transition has been difficult,” Barnes said.

Woodlands owner Lon Walters said, “In 1980 anyone could move in if they were eligible and the state would pay for it. Since the state put the system in where companies have to assess eligibility it’s slowed things down.

“It’s not a good system for people who need to be in a facility like this. It’s not good for us either. Beds are empty while waiting. If I thought we’d be eligible for payment, I’d go ahead. Coverage may not be retroactive, we might not get paid.”

Barnes said, “The impact is definitely huge. It’s frustrating for families. There are some who haven’t been assigned a person to do the assessment yet. It could be four to six weeks out. Nothing happens until Maximus completes the assessment. We’re all at their mercy.”

Walters said, “There are seniors in the system who need to get in. People shouldn’t have to call their senator, the newspaper for help. It’s not fair to those who don’t have those contacts.”

Carol Dorian was able to have the assessment completed on the 24th and moved into Woodlands later that week.

Saviello said families should contact their sitting legislator for assistance even though it is an election year. They may also call him at 240-5496 or 860-2828.

Barnes may be reached at 860-3999.

DHHS was asked for information, but no response was received.

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