Nearly five decades ago, Madison, Estill, and Powell Counties began receiving greater services in the home health care arena. Appropriately, November is designated Home Health Month, and MEPCO Home Health Care is marking its 45th anniversary of providing services to area residents.
Today, services for the Home and Community Based Waiver Program extend to 12 counties: Clark, Estill, Fayette, Garrard, Jackson, Jessamine, Laurel, Madison, Montgomery, Powell, Rockcastle and Wolfe. MEPCO operates under the umbrella of the Madison County Health Department, with their offices located at 216 Boggs Lane, directly behind the health department building.
Dr. John M. Johnstone is chair of the Madison County Health Department Board of Health. He explained, "MEPCO is fully accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Hospital Organizations, one of the very few home health agencies to achieve this high standard."
Johnstone also praised MEPCO staff, saying, "The staff is highly trained and provides home care with warmth and compassion."
The services provided by MEPCO vary widely. Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment Special Services (EPSDTSS) provides therapy services to children under age 21. Another valuable necessity MEPCO can provide is incontinence supplies to qualifying patients. Such patients must meet requirements with a physician's order and qualifying diagnosis.
Billie Dyer, Nurse Administrator for MEPCO Home Health Agency, has been involved with the organization since 1989. Dyer said of the process of enrolling in services, "It can be very involved and complex, so we're happy to talk through the process or assist people in that."
Kristen Krebs, Manager of Home and Community Based Waiver Program, has been there for the past six years. The waiver program "has helped numerous people remain safe and healthy in their homes and maintain a level of independence they would not have experienced otherwise," stated a recent press release.
"The Home and Community Based Waiver Program enables people to stay in their home and receive medical care they need," Krebs added.
One service offered by the waiver program is respite care, which enables full-time caregivers to get a well-deserved break from the constant demands of caring for a loved one. Attendant care is another key facet of the waiver program, in which health aides can assist patients with housekeeping, personal care, errands, and medication reminders. A third feature is case management, where a social worker or RN connects patients to beneficial services and tracks their progress.
Krebs said that these services can even save someone's life. There are situations where someone might be unable to handle everyday tasks safely, and having a home health care worker to check on them and ensure that things are done properly is critical.
The waiver program serves people of all ages with disabilities.
"We've had family members tell us they have seen overall quality of life improve for their loved one who is receiving services," Krebs said. She noted that MEPCO employees can assist interested people with their state application for the waiver program.
MEPCO strives to provide person-centered services. Communication between primary physicians, RNs, social workers, home health aides and the patient is key.
"Compassion and relationship are the bridge that connects us to our patients," Becky Shehan said, who has been a Senior Home Health aide for 17 years.
Anyone who would like more information about the MEPCO services and whether they or someone they know may be eligible should call the office. As Dyer explained, the process can be very complicated, so MEPCO staff can most accurately address individual questions over the phone.
For more information about qualifying for MEPCO services and programs, contact MEPCO Home Health Agency at 859-626-4509, or outside of Madison County call 1-888-399-9118.