DHS News December 2013
Area Agency on Aging Undergoes
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,”
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:
Division Chief: Kurt Emmerling: Aging Waiver Service Coordination; Options
Care Management; Family Caregiver Support Program; and Senior Companions.
Entry Division Chief: Carolyn Gavin. Caregiving, Aging Waiver Enrollment;
Home-Delivered Meals; Information & Assistance and Intake; and Senior
Centers, plus Wellness programs.
Innovation Division Chief: Joe Barker. Care Transitions, Performance-Based
Contracting; Learning Center; Quality (analytics); Systems (SAMS); and Provider
and Internal Monitoring.
Chief: Carol Brackett. Assessment; Dom Care plus Personal Care Home
Supplement; Nursing Home Transition; Ombudsman; and Protective Services,
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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