Today the Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) announced the launch of MassOptions – a 7-day a week, free service aimed at simplifying access to long-term services and supports (LTSS) for the elderly, individuals with disabilities and their caregivers throughout the Commonwealth.
MassOptions, an innovative resource that connects individuals to multiple agencies with just one phone number, is staffed by a team of trained specialists who are located at the UHealthSolutions, Inc. call center in Worcester. Specialists at UHealthSolutions, Inc., a business affiliate of UMass Medical School, will provide referrals, by phone or online chat to services like in-home supports, day services, equipment and supplies, mental health services and personal care services.
“MassOptions is a free resource that links elders, family members, caregivers, and individuals with disabilities to services that better allow them to live independently in the setting of their choice,” said Lieutenant Governor, Karyn Polito. “I’m proud to be here announcing a program that connects our citizens with services that will ultimately lead to greater savings for the Commonwealth.”
A public awareness campaign featuring advertisements on radio, transit, television and social media launched earlier this month. Individuals can connect with a specialist at MassOptions every day from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. by calling the toll-free phone number 1-844-422-6277 (1-844-422-MASS) or by visiting the website at www.MassOptions.org.
“The launch of MassOptions will make access to community services easier for individuals who need to find long-term services and are not sure where to turn,” said the Secretary of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, Marylou Sudders. “Knowing there’s someone on the other end of the phone or online who can help residents navigate the options in their community is reassuring.”
MassOptions is funded through a Balancing Incentive Program (BIP) grant from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services awarded in last March. The Balancing Incentive Program was created by the Affordable Care Act of 2010 and was designed to increase access to non-institutional long-term services and supports (LTSS).
To participate in BIP, states needed to commit to achieving 50 percent spending on non-institutional LTSS by September 2015 and implement structural changes to improve their long-term care system. The Commonwealth has surpassed grant expectations and is a national leader reporting 68 percent spending on non-institutional LTSS. As a result of the BIP grant, Massachusetts estimates receiving $135 million in federal funds.
“BIP funding allows Massachusetts to increase access to LTSS through essential community and state agency partnerships. We continue to work to cultivate a strong state-wide LTSS system,” said the Secretary of Elder Affairs, Alice Bonner. “This newly enhanced access point will enhance our ability to address each individual’s unique needs, goals, and preferences.”
MassOptions partners with a strong statewide network, including the Aging and Disability Resource Consortia (ADRC), as well as state agency partners. Organized into 11 geographical regions throughout the state, each ADRC is connected to a variety of local organizations, including Aging Service Access Points, Area Agencies on Aging and Independent Living Centers as well as state agencies.
The press conference was highlighted on Twitter, as showcased in this Storify.