Adult Care in Oklahoma - The Social Service Wrokers

by Ron Jackson, Staff Reporter Published: November 28, 2009
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photo - Eleanor Kurtz, of DHS, visits with a client during a monitoring visit to Eastern Oklahoma County Tech's Senior Adult Day Center on Thursday, Nov. 12, 2009. By John Clanton, The Oklahoman
Eleanor Kurtz, of DHS, visits with a client during a monitoring visit to Eastern Oklahoma County Tech's Senior Adult Day Center on Thursday, Nov. 12, 2009. By John Clanton, The Oklahoman
If Lance Robertson isn’t at Ground Zero of the adult day services’ financial crisis, he’s close.

As director of the Aging Services Division of DHS, he works at the state funding epicenter for Oklahoma’s adult day service providers. On the surface the job appears simplistic. Legislators carved out $3.3 million for Robertson’s adult day services budget, and those dollars are then doled out to 32 centers statewide based on daily census numbers.

Centers receive $45 a day for the care of an individual based on a six-hour day – the same pay prisons receive for inmates.

The problem: There isn’t enough money. Adult day service administrators estimate it costs about $55 a day to care for an individual, and many clients are taken care for eight or 10 hours during a day. Most centers are forced to rely on other revenue sources such as federal contracts and charitable donations to pay the bills.

“There is no possible way to service everyone who comes to the door,” Robertson admits. “It’s not possible.”

Adult day services coordinator Brenda Lambeth and program administrator Eleanor Kurtz spend countless hours trying to stretch the dollars, especially since $200,000 was cut earlier this year from the appropriated $3.3 million.

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