ELMIRA – On Monday, Nov. 6, a group of Chemung County Nursing Facility residents met with Senator Tom O’Mara and Assemblyman Chris Friend to advocate for an increase in the Medicaid Personal Needs Allowance (PNA).
The Personal Needs Allowance is used for discretionary expenses of residents in nursing homes regulated by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid. The PNA was set at $50 per month in 1981 in New York State and has not been raised since. Despite the fact that the cost of living within the last 36 years has increased approximately 275 percent.
The PNA pays for resident’s expenses not covered by Medicaid, for example, clothing, eyeglasses, haircuts, telephone, reading material, hobbies, and gifts. “Times have changed! Fifty dollars a month doesn't allow ladies, like myself, to go to the hair salon or buy personal items like clothes and shoes,” explained Chemung County Nursing Facility Resident Council President, Ann Kennedy.
Residents are asking Senator O’Mara and Assemblyman Friend for a bill to be brought to Albany to increase the PNA amount. Senator O’Mara said, “Assemblyman Friend and I appreciated this opportunity to visit the staff and residents of the Chemung County Nursing Facility to hear their concerns firsthand. We look forward to sharing this input with our legislative colleagues and working toward a solution."
Pictured: Assemblyman Chris Friend, Nursing Facility Resident Ann Kennedy, Senator Tom O'Mara