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Armstrong ending adult day care program

| Tuesday, March 18, 2014, 12:01 a.m.

The adult day care program that serves about a dozen residents in the Armstrong County Health Center will be eliminated at the end of this month.

The program has been losing roughly $45,000 per year because of a lack of participation, said Daniel Lucovich, county director of human resources.

“This has been in the works for a long time, and the program residents have known about this for at least a month,” Lucovich said. “We're working to get the current residents placed in other programs.”

Health Center Administrator Tom Parsons said the county began planning to eliminate the adult day care program in December.

Parsons said the program, which started in 2000, has always operated at a loss. He forecasted the program would go over budget by at least $50,000 this year, since in January, it exceeded its $7,000 budget by about $4,100.

Parsons said the adult day care program's only expense came from salaries, benefits and paying liability and workers compensation insurance costs for its two employees, a long-term certified nursing assistant and an administrator.

“It's already bare bones, and there's just no way to cut back the labor costs any further,” Parsons said. “We're running at the minimum allowed by state regulations.”

Neither of the program's two employees will be laid off, Parsons said. Officials transferred one to another position in the health center, and the other is being considered for a job with the county.

Parsons said the county helped two of the adult day care patients move to another facility, while another became a long-term resident in the health center. The remaining eight patients declined further assistance, he said.

Parsons said none of the 11 day care patients used the service on a daily basis.

In 2013, the adult day care program surpassed its $49,400 budget by $15,975, according to reports provided by the county's financial adviser, Carly Cowan.

The county budgeted $14,530 for three months of adult day care in 2014.

“The residents we had seemed to enjoy the service, but it's a big loss, financially,” Parsons said. “We needed to make a decision, and we decided that money could be better spent serving the greater population at the health center.”

Brad Pedersen is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-543-1303,ext. 1337, or bpedersen@tribweb.com.

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