The removal of the consumer-direct option is not a good idea. I can't speak for all households; but for mine, it provides safety, convenience, and helps with the expenses of our son's appointments, travel, medications. Our son is non-verbal autistic, ADHD, and epileptic. He also has other medical challenges such as sleep apnea, irregular heartbeat, gastro stomach issues, PICA, sensory and vitamin D deficiencies. A majority of his medical appointments such as his cardiologist, endocrinologist, and neurological doctors are in Richmond at VCU Children's pavilion. We live in Stafford. He has to see all three of the doctor's listed above every 3-months and these appointments aren't always on the same day. Any kind of sickness, whether it is seasonal allergies, COVID or a cold can trigger a seizure. He's had petit mal and grand mal seizures on numerous occasions. At one point, we were at the ER consistently for 3-months (Jan, Feb, and Mar) and each time he was either medevaced by a helicopter or transported by ambulance to VCU. I'm saying all of this because there's a cost associated with this that isn't always covered by Medicaid and insurance. Having his father listed as an in-home caregiver is convenient and helps with expenses. He's there and knows what to do and when to do it. We don't have to do any background checks; we don't have to worry about call-outs and the inability to stay overnight because that's something to consider since seizures are unpredictable. My son needs his father there to help him with using the bathroom and bathing properly and grooming because these are the things that caregivers do; it just so happens that it's his father.
This consumer-direct provision was put in place during a worldwide pandemic. Even though the pandemic isn’t as serious as it was 3-years ago, that doesn’t mean that the consumer-direct provision should be removed. It was a good idea then and it is still a good idea now. There’s nothing negative coming from having it as an option for families to use; so don’t take it away.