Burst pipes push adult day care to close

Jan. 28, 2014 @ 01:11 PM

Since 1998, Adult Life Programs has been day services for the adult disabled population in Caldwell County, saving local governments millions of dollars, but the agency had to close its Caldwell services earlier this month.

On Jan. 7, the extreme cold snap caused the pipes above the ceiling of the program’s Lenoir facility to burst, causing extensive damage to the building, which is owned by First Presbyterian Church and is on Kirkwood Street just behind the church. The cost of the repairs has not been determined, but it will most likely be too much for Adult Life Programs, which on Tuesday started busing program participants to its Hickory facility, said Mark Bumgarner, executive director.

Adult Life Programs is a nonprofit providing adult day care services to individuals in Caldwell and Catawba counties and is a member of both the United Way of Caldwell County and Catawba County United Way.

The Lenoir program has never been able to secure the same level of funding as the organization’s other locations in Conover, Hickory and Maiden, so it has been operating at a loss. For the current fiscal year, which ends June 30, it was budgeted for a $29,000 loss but by last month was on pace for a loss about twice that size, Bumgarner said.

For each person the program serves, about 50 per year, the cost is $54 per day, but the facility receives only $34 per day from a combination of funds from paying participants and Department of Social Services block grants.

But in 2013 alone it saved North Carolina an estimated $1.9 million in long-term-care Medicaid fees, Bumgarner said, a calculation based on a survey in which about 90 percent of participants said the services helped them avoid enrolling in another long-term care program that Medicaid would have had to pay for. Such programs usually cost around $4,021 per month per participant. Throughout the entire organization in 2012, the organization estimated it saved the state it serves around $7.8 million, he said.

The benefits from the center ripple through the community as well, with 80 percent of program participants living in homes with caregivers, and of those caregivers, 100 percent said they were able to keep their current jobs because of the service that Adult Life Programs provides.

“There’s probably a solution out there, but it’s going to take all of us working together to find that,” Bumgarner said, adding thatsome people have already offered to help find a new space in Lenoir, but funds are the most pressing need.

“We would love to return to Caldwell County and would love to have a physical presence there, we’re just going to need the support and funding.”