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 DHS News December 2013     


Area Agency on Aging Undergoes Realignment 

Continuing to meet the challenges of both shifts in service needs for older adults in Allegheny County and financial support for those services has necessitated realignment in some administration at the Department of Human Services (DHS) Area Agency on Aging (AAA).

AAA Administrator Mildred E. Morrison explained the changes, which began to take effect Nov. 4, in a presentation to staff in late October. The realignments followed examination of and direct experience with trends that have impacted service delivery in recent years.

Among those are the reality that clients will live longer and have less secure income; increasing incorporation of evidence-based practices and interfacing with health-care services in service delivery; and the increasing need to develop more and stronger ties with community partners, the federal government and health insurance companies.

A review by deputy administrators and bureau chiefs resulted in “repositioning the agency so that we are a flexible, learning organization,” Mildred said.

Most notable changes occurred in the alignment of bureau chiefs, which was done to “mix the known and stable with areas of growth and change,” to allow moving forward while not impacting services.

Chiefs and their responsibilities are now:

Care Coordination Division Chief: Kurt Emmerling:  Aging Waiver Service Coordination; Options Care Management; Family Caregiver Support Program; and Senior Companions.

Community-Based and Entry Division Chief: Carolyn Gavin. Caregiving, Aging Waiver Enrollment; Home-Delivered Meals; Information & Assistance and Intake; and Senior Centers, plus Wellness programs.

Performance and Innovation Division Chief: Joe Barker. Care Transitions, Performance-Based Contracting; Learning Center; Quality (analytics); Systems (SAMS); and Provider and Internal Monitoring.

Prevention Division Chief: Carol Brackett. Assessment; Dom Care plus Personal Care Home Supplement; Nursing Home Transition; Ombudsman; and Protective Services, including Guardianship.

The changes follow others that AAA has necessarily navigated in recent years, Mildred noted in her presentation. Those include consolidation this past summer of offices into new quarters in Birmingham Towers on the South Side. All changes have been navigated with aplomb by staff, she said.

There are no planned reductions in staff, but fluidity will be key as AAA moves forwarded. “I would expect that the more we learn of skills we must have, of better ways to operate, and the embracing of new opportunities, the more AAA will have to modify its operations, but with an eye for smooth transition,” she said.



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