A new study shows that Florida’s public guardian programs saved the State of Florida almost $1.9 million last year, mostly by helping incapacitated persons move from costly hospitals to more affordable living options, such as assisted living facilities. Public guardians serve as legal representatives for indigent elders and others who cannot make their own decisions and have no one else to assist them.
The cost-savings determination is part of a University of Kentucky study conducted at the request of Florida’s Statewide Public Guardianship Office, which is a unit of the Department of Elder Affairs.
The research team examined the 15 public guardianship programs that serve 20 Florida counties, reviewing the period from June to December 2008 and then calculating full-year savings. The researchers found that the program served 1,916 incapacitated persons at a savings of $3,940,456. Once the statewide program’s operating expenses were subtracted, the annual savings was $1,883,043, according to the independent researchers.
The researchers also concluded that Florida’s public guardian programs produce “significant quality of life savings” for incapacitated persons, ranging from emotional support and improved socialization to reconnecting with family, friends and religious institutions.
“It’s gratifying to know that independent experts recognize the value public guardianship provides, both financially and socially,” said Michelle Hollister, executive director of the Statewide Public Guardianship Office. “We are proud of the way public guardians help those who have nowhere else to turn.”
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Study: Public Guardianship Program Save Florida Taxpayers $1.9 million
University of KY study