ElderLaw News-The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C. — MD, VA, DC
ElderLaw News
ElderLaw News is a weekly e-newsletter that brings you reports of legal developments and other trends of vital interest to seniors and their advocates. This newsletter is brought to you by The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C., William S. Fralin, Esq., President., William S. Fralin, Esq., President.

Promoting Community Integration via a New Medicaid Waiver System for Virginia

One of the most important benefits received by individuals who are elderly or have a disability are the waiver services provided by Medicaid.

For those unfamiliar with waiver services, they are intended to provide standard medical and non-medical services outside of an institutional setting. The coveted waiver programs in Virginia are those provided by the Home and Community Based Services waiver programs, under which individuals may receive support services necessary to promote independent living in his or her home and the community.

While the waiver programs are undoubtedly beneficial, the unfortunate problem with the waiver system is that the need for services in Virginia has surpassed the available funding for the programs, resulting in a large number of citizens being placed on a waiting list for supports, and essentially denying persons with disabilities the ability to integrate within their own community in violation of the “integration mandate” of the Americans with Disabilities Act. As a result, a lawsuit was brought by the United States Department of Justice against the Commonwealth of Virginia and a settlement was reached that requires the Commonwealth of Virginia to promote community integration. The resulting My Life, My Community waiver redesign initiative intends to simplify the currently complex eligibility system, decrease wait times for services, and provide targeted needs-based services that promote choice.

Effective July 2016, the new Building Independence waiver, Family & Individual Supports waiver, and Community Living waivers are replacing the previous Day Support and Intellectual Disability and Developmental Disability (I/DD) waivers. In contrast to the old system, the new system focuses on supports required by the individual and promotes the urgency of such supports. The full transition of the new waiver system will be completed by January 2017.

Some key provisions under the new program include:

• Both the Family & Individual Supports and the Community Living waivers allow the recipient to elect an agency-directed (ie: the Community Services Board) or consumer-directed (ie: Moms in Motion or Endependence Center) services, thus promoting choice and improved client service.

• Whereas previous I/DD eligibility essentially pivoted on IQ above or below 70, the new waiver eligibility system focuses on required supports. As a result, persons who were previously on the DD waiver and ineligible for sponsored or group home residential options now have the option to receive such support, if necessary.

• The new waivers intend to promote more integrative services, which include employment supports, and additional crisis support services.

Only time will tell how successful the new program will be in accomplishing the intended objectives. In the meantime, our staff will monitor the developments and assist clients with issues that may present during the initial implementation process.

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Maryland (301) 214-2229
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The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C.

The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C. is an elder law firm. We represent older persons, disabled persons, their families, and their advocates. The practice of elder law includes estate planning, estate and trust administration, powers of attorney, advance medical directives, titling of assets and designations of beneficiaries, guardianships, conservatorships, and public entitlements such as Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, and SSI, disability planning, income tax planning and preparation, care management, and fiduciary services. For more information about The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C., please visit our website at http://www.chroniccareadvocacy.com.

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This newsletter is not intended as a substitute for legal counsel. While every precaution has been taken to make this newsletter accurate, we assume no responsibility for errors, omissions, or damages resulting from the use of the information in this newsletter. The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C. thanks the law firm of Hook Law Center for their input to this newsletter.

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