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Action Needed: Personal Care Medicaid Changes Threaten Group Home Residents

PCS article

Recent news reports have shed light on changes that will have a negative effect on individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder and other disabilities who receive assistance through Medicaid’s Personal Care Services (PCS).

Please note that the Personal Care Services described in this blog are not the same personal care services delivered to individuals who are in the Community Alternatives Program for Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (CAP-IDD) or those in the Innovations waiver program. – Editor

By Jennifer Mahan, ASNC Director of Advocacy and Public Policy

North Carolina recently changed the Medicaid eligibility criteria for people with disabilities to qualify for Personal Care Services, which is one-on-one care assisting people with things like eating, dressing, bathing and other daily living activities. These changes were prompted by a Medicaid rule that PCS delivered to someone living in their family’s home or an adult care homes have the same eligibility requirements.

Several options for eligibility criteria to use were presented for consideration during the 2012 legislative session. The one passed in the most recent state budget raised the eligibility criteria for PCS across the board which “saved” Medicaid several million dollars, but also resulted in making thousands ineligible for PCS. Here’s why:

  • Residents of some group homes (often referred to as the 5600 or DDA group homes) for people with developmental disabilities and mental illness need Personal Care Services. Without the Medicaid funding for those services, group homes can no longer afford to provide care to their residents and support their operation. Simply put they have lost part of the revenue needed to keep the doors open.
  • This month along with the loss of services, people began getting notices they must move. These people with disabilities, living on social security disability payments and unable to provide for much of their own care, now have nowhere to go.

You can read several new articles explaining how this crisis developed here:

On November 30th, the Speaker of the North Carolina House, Representative Tills, sent a letter to the Governor requesting that she call a special session of the Legislature to deal with group home funding and in the letter he promised that no other bills would be brought up for vote. The Autism Society of North Carolina thanks Speaker Tills for recognizing the critical nature of this situation in which thousands of people with developmental disabilities and mental illness may become homeless.

Now, the Governor must agree to the special session and Legislators must agree on how to fix the crisis. The Autism Society of North Carolina is working with the Arc of North Carolina and other advocacy groups to urge elected officials to call a special session of the NC General Assembly before December 31, which is when PCS services for many will end and threaten the loss of housing for thousands.

As of the posting of this Blog (Sunday, December 9) there has been no action on a special session. ASNC is asking individuals interested in this issue to become involved in the discussion. Here’s what you can do:

1. Sign the online petition to urge The Governor and Legislature to solve the Personal care crisis now!

2. If you prefer to contact elected officials directly, information is below. As always, please personalize your message by using your own words.

To contact Governor Perdue you can email her via the Office of the Governor email: governor.office@nc.gov

The message to the Governor is simple:
Please call a special session of the General Assembly and/or worth with Legislative Leadership to find a solution to the Personal Care Crisis for group homes and people with developmental disabilities.

To contact the Senate Leadership you can email Senator Phil Berger, President Pro Tem of the NC Senate at Phil.Berger@ncleg.net.

The message:
Please work with other Legislative leaders and the office of the Governor to find a solution to the Personal Care Crisis for group homes and people with developmental disabilities.

To contact the Speaker of the House Representative Thom Tillis, use email address Thom.Tillis@ncleg.net

The message:
Thank you for asking for a special legislative session and your commitment to finding a solution to the Personal Care Crisis for group homes and people with developmental disabilities.

We also encourage you to contact your own NC General Assembly Senator or House Representative and let them know of your concerns. To find your elected officials click here.

If you have any questions about these or other public policy issues please contact Jennifer Mahan, Director of Advocacy and Public Policy at jmahan@autismsociety-nc.org or 919-743-0204,  extension 1116.

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  1. I seriously hate all of the changes being made to medicaid lately. Its getting out of hand! What, don\’t they want people to be cared for anymore?

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