State Aging Secretary Gets LIFE Lessons at New Facility for Elderly

| August 31, 2018

MONROE TWP., Pa. (EYT) – Pennsylvania Department of Aging Secretary Teresa Osborne joined Senator Scott Hutchinson and Representative Donna Oberlander for a tour of the new LIFE – Northwestern Pennsylvania (LIFE-NWPA) Center in Monroe Township on Thursday afternoon.

(Pictured, left to right: Senator Scott Hutchinson, LIFE-NWPA Executive Director Laura M. Lyons, Representative Donna Oberlander, Secretary Teresa Osborne, LIFE-NWPA CEO Mark Gusek)

The recently finished LIFE-NWPA Center, which is currently awaiting final approval from The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), is located at 108 East Pinnacle Drive in Monroe Township, just south of Interstate 80.

LIFE-NWPA is part of the state’s Living Independence for the Elderly (LIFE) Program, which is a managed care program that provides comprehensive medical and support services that allow older Pennsylvanians to live independently.

The organization currently operates in Erie County, Crawford County, Mercer County, and Warren County, and will soon begin operating in Clarion County. They also plan to continue to grow across Northwestern Pennsylvania into Venango, McKean, and Forest Counties.

Executive Director Laura M. Lyons gave Secretary Osborne, Senator Hutchinson, and Representative Oberlander a full tour of the new facility, which includes everything from a dining area, a therapy area, and a quiet room, to shower and laundry facilities, and even an in-house medical clinic.

Pictured above: Marcie Campbell, Director of Marketing and Intake; Pastor Albert Gesler, Board President; and Laura Lyons, Executive Director.

Pictured above: Marcie Campbell, Director of Marketing and Intake; Pastor Albert Gesler, Board President; and Laura Lyons, Executive Director.

“There’s a great opportunity to educate seniors and their family members and other caregivers about the array of services that are available to them,” Secretary Osborne noted.

According to Chief Executive Officer Mark Gusek, long-term goals for the facility include an independent living apartment building and possibly some patio homes.

“There are bigger plans here,” Gusek said.

The program includes an interdisciplinary team consisting of eleven disciplines that meets on a regular basis to ensure the individuals receiving services are having all of their needs handled in the least restrictive and most cost-effective manner.

“There’s a lot of diversity in how your meeting the needs of the people in the community, Secretary Osborne noted. “I think you’re doing a great job of it.”

“For us at the Department of Aging to be able to tour LIFE Clarion is just outstanding, to see this building before its going to be filled with life, with the souls who gather under its roof knowing that they’re meeting a community need so that seniors and their families have opportunity to age in place, whether they stay at the home grew up in or the home that they raised their children in, or the home that they downsized to, and then to be able to receive the long-term care and supports they need through a LIFE program is incredibly life-giving for them, so we’re grateful for LIFE Northwest PA for offering services such as this and to help us in the Commonwealth ensure that our seniors can age in place with the dignity and respect they deserve.”

The basic criteria to enter into a LIFE program in Pennsylvania is to be:

  • Age 55 or older,
  • Certified by The State of Pennsylvania as eligible for nursing home level of care,
  • Be a resident of a specified geographic area LIFE-NWPA is operating in, with the permission of The Department of Human Services and CMS,
  • Be determined to be financially eligible for Medical Assistance by The County Assistance Office or be willing to pay privately, and
  • At the point of enrollment, can be, and is willing to be, safely cared for in a community setting by LIFE-NWPA and its network of providers.

Anyone interested in enrolling in the LIFE program can contact LIFE-NWPA at 844-456-5433 (LIFE).

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