October 1, 1997
TO: STATE AND AREA AGENCIES ON AGING AND TRIBAL ORGANIZATIONS
ADMINISTERING PLANS UNDER TITLES III AND VI OF THE OLDER AMERICANS
ACT OF 1965, AS AMENDED
SUBJECT: Independent Choices Projects
In July, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) announced
awards under their grant solicitation, Independent Choices: Enhancing
Consumer Direction for People with Disabilities. This initiative
is intended to demonstrate new consumer direction models in home
and community-based services for chronically disabled people of
all ages and to research important issues that may contribute
to our knowledge base about consumer choice and control.
Under the announcement, 13 projects received a total of $3 million.
Two types of grants were awarded: demonstrations for three years
and research projects lasting up to three years.
A description of each of the projects, along with the name and
phone number of the contact person, is enclosed. You will note
that among the grantees are the National Association of State
Units on Aging, Oregon Senior and Disabled Services Division,
Miami University's Scripps Gerontology Center (to expand consumer
direction in Ohio's PASSPORT Program) and the Alzheimer's Association's
New York City Chapter.
The National Council on the Aging (NCOA), with a grant from the
RWJF, houses the National Program Office for Independent Choices
and will provide overall program direction and technical assistance
to the grant recipients. The principal contact for the National
Program Office is Kathleen A. Cameron, (202) 479-0738.
You may be interested to know that NCOA also houses the National
Institute on Consumer-Directed Long-Term Services, a partnership
between NCOA and the World Institute on Disability. The National
Institute, which received its initial support from the Office
of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, Department
of Health and Human Services, and is now funded by RWJF, has been
established to enhance consumer direction through education, technical
assistance, training and research. If you have any questions about
consumer direction and choice in long-term services, please call
the Institute at (202) 479-6994.
As I indicated in an earlier Information Memorandum on Cash and
Counseling, consumer-directed services is one of the most significant
innovations in long-term care in the past decade, an innovation
that promises to become a significant option for meeting the needs
of disabled persons of all ages, young and old. I urge you to
follow the progress of the Independent Choices projects and similar
research and demonstration efforts closely and to provide them
your support wherever possible.
William F. Benson
Acting Principal Deputy Assistant
Secretary for Aging