Alaskans love their independence and right to make their own life choices and as the Alaskan population ages it doesn't want it's independence to wane. The demand for personal health care services therefore has been changing and providers expanding to meet the needs of Alaskans. After a lengthy and involved public process that spanned several decades, the State of Alaska Medicaid program instituted the Consumer Direct Personal Care Services (CDPCS) program in October of 2001. Some 2,700 Alaskans today are receiving personal care services which they direct themselves through this program.
Access Alaska has been providing such personal care services for some 20 years in Alaska and have now expanded those services to include the Kenai Peninsula with the opening of an Independent Care Advantage office in Ridgeway. At a recent open house to meet the community, Jim Beck, executive director for Access Alaska in Anchorage, was on the Peninsula and said, "The CDPCS programs help preserve the independence of persons with disabilities and the elderly by enabling them to live in the community among their family and friends. It is a major effort for deinstitutionalization in the State." According to Beck the success of the program underscores the importance of independent living in the lives of Alaskans, "7 out of 10 of us and our families will experience some disability in our lifetime. Access Alaska is pleased to be able to continue providing quality PCA services to the Kenai Peninsula and to be able to expand those services through a new Independent Care Advantage office in Soldotna," said Beck.
Interesting community members visit with Access Alaska staff during their recent open house.
Program Manager for Independent Care Advantage, Rhonda Crawford says she loves her job and developing relationships with the people she serves, "What we do are personal care attendant services. Our clients choose who they want to hire and what type of assistance they want, they get to run the program. It keeps them involved, independent, and safe. It's an individualized plan that suits their needs," said Crawford. It is projected that CDPCS will reduce government spending on costly institutions as well as provide significant employment for personal care givers. For more information call Independent Care Advantage, Access Alaska, at 260-9336, or stop by their new location in Ridgeway on the Kenai Spur Highway next to Enstar in the log cabin building.
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