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KateLeigh Wright, Staff Writer

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ADvantage is a medical, state-funded program that is part of the Oklahoma Department of Human Services division. ADvantage serves people ages 65 and older and adults with physical disablilites ages 21 and older. With budget cuts in the state, the Oklahoma Department of Human Services will soon eliminate the ADvantage program.

The ADvantage Waiver Program employs personnel that can provide services for the elderly so that the elderly may safely live in their own home for as long as possible. ADvantage’s goal is to keep people out of nursing homes. People are generally happier at home and it costs about one-sixth of what it would cost to be placed in a nursing home.

Ronnie Ward is the executive director and says that services vary depending on what the client might need help with. Things like lawn maintenance, housekeeping, and help with laundry are services the program provides.

The state is closer to having a budget deal at the Capitol after a House Committee approved a budget plan that will keep the ADvantage program for roughly seven more months, ending at the end of July 2018. Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin approved 26.9 million dollars in short-term funding for the Oklahoma Department of Human Services.

The money to fund the health program would have come from a measure rejected in the house that would have raised the tax on fuel by six cents per gallon, added a new tax of one dollar and fifty cents on cigarettes, and boosted the tax on low point beer, while increasing the tax on natural gas and oil production.

But what happens at the end of this upcoming July? If a plan is not made by then, all ADvantage employees will be out of work and more than 20,000 elderly and disabled people will be effected. Many elderly and disabled people have life-or-death situations that ADvantgae handles on a day-to-day basis.

 

Some think the elderly’s families or children should help take care of them. However, most of those children are grown, have a family and jobs of their own. It would not help things for the child to quit his or her job in order to take care of their parent, because they would not have the money to pay the bills.

Once the ADvantage program is cut, there will not be a gaping hole in services for the elderly and disable.

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