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Cuts To In-Home Care Could Prove Costly

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In a bid to save money, Tennessee will soon stop paying for some with disabilities to receive help from two personal assistants at once. But the new rule could end up costing the state far more than it might save.

Currently, Tennessee is the only state to allow people like 20-year-old Stephanie Domm to receive care from multiple aides simultaneously. At 85-pounds, the extra assistance is a lifeline, allowing Domm to remain in her family’s home. That’s because the young adult who has cerebral palsy and intellectual disability needs two people to be safely moved in and out of her wheelchair.

But with cuts expected in July, Domm’s parents say they don’t know what they’ll do. The agency that provides the girl’s assistants says they will no longer be able to serve Domm if the state allows just one aide to work at a time due to safety concerns.

The kicker: Domm’s care currently costs $77,000 annually, but if she were to move into a state supported home — one of few options that the family is expected to have — the bill would increase to $126,000, her parents say.

And she’s likely not alone. More than two dozen people in the state rely on two personal assistants.

Officials at the Tennessee Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities acknowledge that the rule change might in fact increase care costs, but say they can’t make exceptions for one person over another, reports The (Memphis) Commercial Appeal. To read more click here.

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Comments (3 Responses)

  1. SusanFordKeller says:

    Don’t adults with disabilities have the right to appropriate care, in the way that children with disabilities have the right to an appropriate education? If having two in-home aides is less costly and allows people to stay in their own homes in their communities, than denying them 2 aides would be a violation of their civil rights, as well as a huge lapse of common sense on the part of the Tennessee Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.

    People with disabilities are being victimized by the very organizations that are supposed to be helping them: school districts and state health and human service agencies. Department of Justice, a little help here.

  2. policyparent says:

    There are other states that allow more than one direct care worker to work at one time. This is allowed through Self Directed waiver services or in states that modify their state plans to allow Self Direction/Consumer Direction as permitted by CMS. This is a policy mistake on the part of Tennessee and their medicaid policy planning. Self Directed Personal assistance is relatively easy to enact and saves money. Look at Minnesota, Michigan and Wisconsin.

  3. dnelson76 says:

    In my experience, there should be other options available as well. Can a family member be person #2? What about a hoyer lift or other lifting aids? There are a plethora of things available for such situations. Lack of 2 personal aides doesn’t automatically mean that institutionalization is the only other option.

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