As the parents of a profoundly disabled child on the CCC+ Medicaid waiver and waiting list for the DD waiver, we strongly oppose the DMAS proposal to eliminate the current Appendix K allowance for parents to be paid caregivers. Of all the myriad things that are broken with the convoluted system that is Medicaid, Appendix K is the one positive thing that works well and provides a small amount of hope and relief to families who are struggling to keep their heads above water. Eliminating the existing option for parents to be paid caregivers, therefore requiring them to be hired through a staffing agency to be compensated to care for their loved one, would be burdensome, disruptive, and is just plain non-sensical. What is the point to this proposal? Who exactly would benefit from this change in policy? Certainly not our vulnerable children who are serviced by these Medicaid waivers.
Our eight-year-old son is blind, autistic, non-verbal, incontinent, and developmentally delayed. His needs are extensive. There is not a single activity of daily living that he can complete on his own. He requires constant supervision to ensure his safety. We are his parents. Who does DMAS think is better suited to care for him? Certainly not a stranger assigned to us by a care-giving agency. And nothing is more insulting than the notion that parents could apply to be hired by such an agency and continue to be paid in that fashion to care for our children. I don’t need an agency to train me on how to best care for my child, and I certainly don’t have the time or energy to train one of their staff members on how to care for him. That’s assuming an agency could provide an appropriate caregiver in the first place.
A quick search on Indeed for local businesses hiring in our area shows that Wendy’s is paying $14 per hour, CVS is paying $15 - $17.25 per hour, and a local hometown coffee shop is paying $13 - $18 per hour. Which DMAS staff member or Virginia lawmaker would like to take a leave of absence from their current position and come and care for our son for $12.70 per hour? Please let common sense prevail, listen to the pleas of parents who are living this life day in and day out, and leave Appendix K in place.
Stephanie & Adam Brennell