SCOPE change imminent

WARREN – A deal in place that joins SCOPE Inc. of Trumbull County with Family and Community Services keeps in place the more than 20 staffers the senior service agency has employed at its centers, said the executive director of the Ravenna-based agency.

”One thing we made sure of, there will be no interruption of services at those senior centers in Trumbull County,” said Mark Frisone.

A deal has been finalized and the changeover should officially happen today or Wednesday, Frisone said Monday evening.

FCS already provides oversight and centralized services to numerous agencies in northeast Ohio, including local Valley Counseling and Someplace Safe, the women’s shelter in Trumbull County. They’ve been in talks for several months about doing the same for SCOPE.

The purchase isn’t so much buying SCOPE’s properties and equipment – SCOPE doesn’t own any bricks or mortar, but rather its senior centers are community-owned or rented – but assigning FCS their contracts with the county and any lease agreements.

Previously, SCOPE Director Ralph Smith said FCS would benefit SCOPE through its available $19 million grant operation and human resources department. The organization is an umbrella for 60 programs in 13 counties and two states, most in northeast Ohio.

SCOPE’s board of directors will remain, but ”will become over time, advisory in nature,” once SCOPE, which is still incorporated, is dissolved.

”That’s what we love to see,” Frisone said. ”The best decisions are made at the local level … we want that to continue to go on at SCOPE just as it goes on at Valley Counseling and Someplace Safe.”

SCOPE director Ralph Smith was left a message seeking comment.

The senior service provider has been in rough patch over the past couple years. Chief among its issues, in September 2012, it was stripped of its certification as a long-term care agency by the Ohio Department of Aging, meaning it could no longer provide services under the Medicaid-funded PASSPORT program, a program for in-home care services for seniors.

The agency considered an appeal, but decided one would be too costly.