Administration on Aging:

More Federal Action Needed to Promote Service Coordination for the Elderly

HRD-91-45: Published: Apr 23, 1991. Publicly Released: Jun 10, 1991.

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Pursuant to a legislative requirement, GAO provided information on the Administration on Aging's (AOA) efforts to promote service coordination for the elderly.

GAO found that: (1) consistent with the growth in the elderly population between 1980 and 1990, state and federal programs serving the elderly grew rapidly, but AOA did not keep pace with the growing coordination needs; (2) poor service integration in many states hindered the elderly and their families in obtaining services; (3) AOA substantially reduced information dissemination and technical assistance activities, leaving state and local governments on their own to develop ways to coordinate services; (4) AOA did not maintain its knowledge base about state and local advances in service coordination, resulting in a weakened capacity to provide assistance; and (5) between 1981 and 1989, AOA staff decreased from 252 to 162, travel funds decreased from $238,000 to $45,000, and research and demonstration funding dropped from $54 million to $26 million.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: AOA has expanded the role of regional offices in disseminating research and demonstration and providing technical assistance to state and area agencies through their involvement in a national report and technical assistance to all states. This includes work involving Medicaid, the Social Services Block Grant, state programs, and the Older Americans Act. This involves meetings with representatives from various agencies in the state responsible for implementing programs needing coordination. A plan for this work was jointly developed with the Office of the Inspector General. Regional offices also put together a plan to provide coordinated assistance in states experiencing disasters. Regional offices are also involved in AOA's "Dissemination by Design" effort.

    Recommendation: The Commissioner on Aging should expand the role of the regional offices in: (1) disseminating research and demonstration results; and (2) providing technical assistance to state and area agencies on aging by targeting communities where assistance is likely to have the greatest effect.

    Agency Affected: Department of Health and Human Services: Administration on Aging

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: AOA now compiles and disseminates a compendium of research and demonstration results to state and local agencies sponsored in Title IV of the Older Americans Act. The publication is "Administration on Aging: Compendium of Products From Grants Funded Under Title IV of the Older Americans Act." It is distributed by the National Aging Dissemination Center at the National Association of State Units on Aging. The compendium includes title of project, author names, description of the project, notes, year funded, location of project, and other information. All grant recipients are required to provide this information. The database on which the compendium is built can be accessed electronically through AGENET. The compendium is distributed to state and local agencies.

    Recommendation: The Commissioner on Aging should compile and disseminate a directory of research and demonstration results to state and local agencies.

    Agency Affected: Department of Health and Human Services: Administration on Aging

 

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