Millie is a 92-year old woman who, after raising 12 children, now lives alone in Arkansas. She is very independent and loves to garden and make quilts. She recently went through surgery to implant a pacemaker and suffered some broken bones shortly after that. Her fixed income is being stretched by the various medications she needs.
What Millie wants most is to continue living at home and to participate in her favorite activities: attending church on Sunday and quilting at the nearby Senior Center. With the help of a demonstration project in Arkansas called Independent Choices, she has been able to do just that. The project pays cash allowances, coupled with information services, directly to disabled persons. This allows them to arrange for and purchase the services they feel best meet their needs with more flexibility than the government usually allows.
The Arkansas project is part of Cash and Counseling, a national program supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the United States Department of Health and Human Services. In its current phase, it consists of demonstration projects in three states: Arkansas, Florida, and New Jersey. Cash and Counseling gives consumers greater flexibility in how they obtain care for their chronic conditions and supports informal caregivers.