Elderly care hands

MANSFIELD -- Richland Source has begun a new entity, Open Source, where readers ask reporters questions that could lead to story suggestions.

This time around, a reader asked: "Where are social services provided that assist those who do not qualify for Medicaid?"

We went to Richland County Jobs and Family Services, 171 Park Ave East, Mansfield, to get the answer.

"We always try to get people signed up for Medicaid, and our Medicaid standard is low," Stephanie Cook said. "An able (to work) individual has to make at least $1,346 per month. But for those who are aged, blind or disabled the requirements are $750 for a single adult and $1,125 for a couple. That is really low."

One can apply for Medicaid over the phone using the phone number, 1-884-640-OHIO.

Cook said if after one is denied in their request for Medicaid, the next best option is to call 2-1-1. Cook described this Richland County Public Library service as an operator which can help the caller find anything from a pizza place to a doctor.

"They are great," she said. "2-1-1 is great. There's a lot of resources in Richland County and we try to use them because we want to help those individuals.

"Sometimes there's a gap. You are approved for Social Security disability, but you have to wait two years for medicare, there's always something. So we give them to 2-1-1, and they send them to Area on Aging or to the Market Place to purchase a health insurance plan."

Cook said because the Market Place costs money, that is a last resort when helping people get the help they need.

"We tell people to apply for Medicaid," she said. "If you are denied -- everyone is different but we try to work it out.

"From there we will tell you to go to the Area Agency on Aging... (which) can give you other programs you can qualify for. A lot of people are saying, 'I want my mother in the best nursing home,' 2-1-1 can help with that."

This Solutions Journalism story is brought to you in part by the generous support of our Newsroom Partners: Spherion, Visiting Nurses Association, PR Machine Works, Nanogate/Jay Systems, DRM Productions, OhioHealth Mansfield Hospital, Richland Bank, Mechanics Bank, Area Agency on Aging, and many others. To learn more about Solutions Journalism at Richland Source click the "About Solutions Journalism."