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Indiana Commits to CHOICE Program

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State budget director Adam Horst says almost $30 million will go to the program.

Indiana’s budget director publicly committed to fully funding the CHOICE home health care program Thursday after complaints the state was holding back money.

In late May, the Family and Social Services Administration let out contracts to local departments of aging for only around $20 million…while CHOICE was budgeted for closer to $30 million by the General Assembly. At a budget committee hearing Thursday, state budget director Adam Horst promised legislators the full amount of nearly $28 million would be contracted out by the state. But Horst says he’s uncomfortable making those kinds of promises.

“Well,” he said, “I think people want commitments that nothing’s going to change if the world totally changes, and we don’t know what’s going to happen with state revenues over the next 12 months. So, to tell people that they’re definitely going to get a certain dollar amount only sets you up for handcuffing yourself and then someone else has to get the cut.”

Indiana Home Care Task Force chair John Cardwell says he’d still like to see more money put into CHOICE so less is needed for nursing home care.

“Again,” he said, “I appreciate the contract but the fundamental problem with the state mis-investing, or investing poorly in long-term care and missing the boat in terms of what’s really needed is still out there.”

Horst says FSSA had said all along they would amend the original contracts to include the remainder of CHOICE funding.

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