Provider grants modification needs
WAPPINGERS FALLS, N.Y. – Home modifications for the elderly and disabled don’t come cheap, which is why Don Alvarez, owner of Mobility Products and Services is doing his best to lighten the load.
For the past decade, the provider has been helping customers seek out grants and waivers through local organizations to help pay for home modifications.
“Often, when I go to see somebody, they’ll need a stair lift,” said Alvarez. “A stair lift can run anywhere from $3,000 to $12,000 and often they can’t afford it, so I’ll direct them to one of those agencies.”
Depending on the type of assistance, organizations choose recipients based on age, disability and/or economic situation.
Once an organization chooses a recipient, the next step is choosing a provider to supply and install the necessary equipment—like ramps, lifts and grab bars.
“Obviously, we want to let (those organizations) know we’re available, so that when they have a project, we have the opportunity to bid on it,” said Alvarez, who wins two or three bids per month. “I wish it were more, but they’re big projects and I don’t always get them. Low bidders get them.”
Typically, waivers or grants start at $15,000 and go up from there, says Alvarez. The largest he’s seen—a Medicaid waiver—was for a $70,000 elevator for a child with Duchenne muscular dystrophy.
Because home modifications are rarely covered by Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance, Alvarez says such funding is an important source of financing for the elderly and disabled.
“If I come into your home and the only bathroom and the bedrooms are upstairs—insurance companies won’t pay ($3,000 for a stair lift) because they say it’s not medically necessary,” said Alvarez. “They’ll put a hospital bed in your living room and give you a $60 commode.”