Partnership between Non-Profit and Georgia’s Division of Aging Will Increase Independence and Community Engagement for Mobility-Impaired across the State
Stone Mountain - Friends of Disabled Adults and Children (FODAC), a non-profit organization providing over $10 million annually in home medical equipment (HME) and supplies to people with injuries and disabilities, today announced a partnership agreement with Georgia’s Division of Aging Services (DAS), a part of the state’s Department of Human Services (DHS).
Under this agreement, regional state Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) are encouraged to establish individual contracts with FODAC for assistive technology, including durable medical equipment (DME) such as wheelchairs, shower benches and walkers, that will help their clients remain independent and connected to their communities. Once connected with FODAC, these agencies can then access up to $10,000 in grant funds for DME, equipment that is vital to maintaining the safety and welfare of many older adults.
FODAC will make regular trips to contracted AAA facilities across the state to deliver refurbished DME at little to no cost to the recipients. The AAAs will inventory the equipment, and serve area residents as both a distribution center for the equipment and as a donation site for used DME, which FODAC will collect for repair and refurbishment at its corporate offices in Stone Mountain, Georgia.
“With Georgia’s population of adults aged 60 and older expected to increase by nearly 98 percent between 2010 and 2030, it is important that we continue to provide resources to help older Georgians live safely, healthily and independently in their homes and communities,” said Abby Cox, director of DHS Division of Aging Services. “Through the assistive technology grant and our partnership with FODAC, older Georgians and those with disabilities will have greater access to equipment to help them thrive and remain independent.”
Although some funding for regional AAAs comes as a result of the Older Americans Act, the agencies also act as an aging and disability resource connection (ADRC), serving individuals of any age who have a disability. Recent state and federal cutbacks and changes in healthcare programs have increased the wait and in some cases lessened the availability of DME for many clients. They may find necessary DME is an added and unanticipated expense, or their insurance simply doesn’t cover it. With FODAC’s support, AAAs can provide clean, gently-used equipment for those with mobility impairments, including wheelchairs, walkers, Hoyer lifts and shower benches. In addition to regaining their independence, FODAC’s services and equipment also keep patients safer on discharge from a hospital or rehab stay, reducing return visits to the emergency room because of falls or other injuries and thus cutting hospital costs.
There are currently 12 regional AAAs in Georgia under the jurisdiction of the DAS. So far, four have agreed to work with FODAC under the DAS agreement – Area Agency on Aging of Northwest Georgia (Northwest Georgia); Agewise Connection (Atlanta); Three Rivers Regional Commission (West Central Georgia); and Southern Georgia Regional Commission (Southern Georgia). A fifth AAA, Coastal Regional Commission, contracted with FODAC last year, and in fact served as the model for the current program with DAS.
“So often a simple piece of equipment, such as a shower bench or walker, is all that is needed to help a person with mobility challenges regain some independence and enhance their quality of life,” said Chris Brand, president and CEO, FODAC. “We are very excited about rolling out this program across the state of Georgia, and hope that it will serve as a model for neighboring states.”
Georgia residents interested in applying for DME through one of the participating AAAs, or who have questions about the program, should contact their local AAA. Equipment is available at little or no cost, dependent on the needs and eligibility of the applicant.
Now celebrating its 30th anniversary, Friends of Disabled Adults and Children (FODAC) continues to help people with injuries and disabilities of all ages regain their mobility, independence and quality of life. The non-profit organization provides more than $10 million annually in refurbished home medical equipment (HME) and home modifications in Georgia and across the United States, all at little or no cost to the recipients. A pioneer in re-use, FODAC keeps 200 tons of materials out of landfills each year by refurbishing and reissuing over 400 HME items every month, and is recognized nationally for best practices. In 2014, FODAC was named to Charities Under 5% Overhead, an organization of charities that have operating overhead of five percent or less.
In 2013, Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) appointed FODAC to serve as the statewide distributor of HME and assistive technology in the event of a large population-affecting emergency situation. In this role, FODAC will warehouse the HME and other equipment, then, working with GEMA and the American Red Cross (ARC) of Georgia, will coordinate the delivery and distribution to emergency shelters around the state.
For more information on FODAC and its programs, visit www.fodac.org.
About Georgia Department of Human Services (DHS) Division of Aging Services
The DHS Division of Aging Services, Georgia's unit on aging, collaborates with the state’s 12 Area Agencies on Aging to plan and coordinate services for older adults, people with disabilities and caregivers. To learn more, visit www.aging.ga.gov or call 866.552.4464.