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NYSOFA Acting Director Olsen testifies and Joint Legislative Budget Hearing

Good morning Senator DeFrancisco, Assemblyman Farrell, distinguished members of the Senate Finance and Assembly Ways and Means Committees, Chairperson Millman and Chairman Adams. My name is Greg Olsen and I am the Acting Director of the New York State Office for the Aging.

Governor Cuomo's third Executive Budget expands on the historic reforms enacted the past two years to continue building a new New York. As a result of bipartisan cooperation over the past two years, the State was able to close the current deficit without broad cuts, new taxes, fees or gimmicks. At the New York State Office for the Aging (NYSOFA), we are continuing to rethink and restructure the way in which services are delivered and how oversight and monitoring are implemented so that the services we administer with our county and community partners are person-centered and responsive to the needs of those we serve. The agency has developed new partnerships with both governmental and non-governmental organizations, and continues to focus on strengthening and expanding existing partnerships within the communities that serve and advocate for older adults.

The New York State Office for the Aging promotes and administers programs and services for the 3.7 million New Yorkers who are 60 years of age and older. NYSOFA's core mission is to help older adults remain independent for as long as possible. In carrying out this mission, NYSOFA provides leadership and direction to 59 county based Area Agencies on Aging and a network of over 1,200 public and private organizations which serve and help empower older adults and their families.

Governor Cuomo's 2013-2014 Executive Budget continues its commitment to our core programs and services, assuring that those we serve continue to receive cost-effective, high quality services that support their independence and prevent more costly services. As such, the Executive Budget preserves funding for key programs including the Expanded In-home Services for the Elderly Program (EISEP), which provides non-medical in-home services, case management, respite and ancillary services to frail older adults, most of whom are low-income but not eligible for Medicaid; the Wellness in Nutrition Program (formerly known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)), which funds home delivered and congregate meals and provides nutrition counseling and education to frail older adults who are unable to prepare meals for themselves; the Community Services for the Elderly Program (CSE), which is designed to improve the ability of communities to assist older adults who need help in order to remain in their homes and to participate in family and community life, and NY Connects: Choices for Long Term Care, a statewide, locally based "no wrong door" that provides one stop access to free, objective and comprehensive Information and Assistance (I&A) on long term services and supports.

We have, through a variety of strategic partnerships and with our county area agency on aging and other partners accomplished a lot in 2012 including:

As you can see from these examples, NYSOFA has been proactive in working to improve our services and advocacy for older adults by increasing partnerships and integrating our work with other agencies and entities to maximize the utilization of resources. We look forward to continuing down this path to create systems that are seamless for the consumer and their families.

Thank you for the opportunity to share my comments. I am happy to answer any questions you may have.