formats

What is a SCO and am I eligible?

Q. After a long wait an apartment in elder housing finally came available for my father. We thought it would be best to move him to be closer to where we live. Both my husband and I are working so it wasn’t feasible for him to move in with us since he needs more support than we can provide at this time. I just completed his application for Medicaid and it appears he will be eligible due to his minimal monthly income and depleted assets. One of my father’s neighbors told him she has a case manager from your agency and said he should consider something called a SCO. This is rather confusing to us since we don’t know anything about aging services. Can you clarify this for us?

A. The aging network in Massachusetts is extensive and sometimes can be a little daunting to navigate if you have no knowledge of the system. The positive aspect of all this is the availability of services will be of benefit to someone like your father and there are professionals to assist your family in making decisions about his future care, this is not something you have to do on your own.

Your father’s neighbor was referring to a Senior Care Organization (SCO), of which five plans are contracted in the Merrimack Valley to provide services to MassHealth (Medicaid) members. The SCO is a comprehensive plan combining health and social support services designed to meet the needs of the individual member. This is accomplished through a team effort including primary care physicians, specialists, nurses and a Geriatric Service Support Coordinator (GSSC). In this area the SCOs contract with Elder Services of the Merrimack Valley, Inc., to provide the case management (GSSC) for the non-medical support in accessing home care services and other community available to the elder.

Eligibility guidelines for enrollment in a SCO includes the individual must be age 65 years of age or older, enrolled in MassHealth Standard, residing in a county where the SCO is available and the person does not have end-stage renal disease. A person can enroll in a SCO the first day of the month and dis-enroll the last day of the month. In addition to the traditional health care and having prescriptions filled, members may also access medical transportation, mental health services, vision and hearing exams, dental care, and/or obtain durable medical equipment. For additional information or to get a list of the SCOs in a specific area call 1-800-892-0890.

Are you struggling caring for an older adult or having difficulty locating resources? Our experienced staff are available for no cost consultations in the home, office or community. For additional information or to schedule an appointment call 1-800-892-0890.

Do you have a question? We encourage inquiries and comments from our readers. Direct correspondence to ageinfo@esmv.org or Elder Services of the Merrimack Valley, Inc., AgeInfo Department, 280 Merrimack Street, Suite 400, Lawrence, MA 01843. Joan Hatem-Roy is the CEO of Elder Services of the Merrimack Valley, Inc.