I ask that you please make parent and spouse paid attendants permanent to protect the lives of the most vulnerable among us.
Our family struggled for five years to try and find competent, dependable agency care, and failed time and time again. Then we switched to consumer-directed care and searched in vain for another two years for someone competent and caring who would be willing to work part time hours for such low wages to care for such a high risk, complex child. We found no one -- literally no one. Having the option to switch to a paid family caregiver was a huge relief because we finally didn't have to worry every month about losing our child's Medicaid coverage because we couldn't get a relative to come in from out of state to care for our child and log personal attendant hours.
That brings me to exposure risks. Forcing us to bring in a caregiver from outside of our household would threaten our extraordinarily high risk child's very survival. The pandemic is not over, and life for our family still doesn't look anything like it did in 2019. We still avoid crowds, we still avoid indoor activities as much as we can, we don't have people come over to our house to visit, and we still mask everywhere we go outside of our home. And covid is far from the only risk to our child's life. If we couldn't find a competent, caring caregiver willing to work part time hours with a high risk, complex child for such low wages before the pandemic, how could we possibly expect to find one now who's also willing to wear shoe covers and a mask the entire shift -- much less take the same kind of precautions we do on their own time because we value our child's survival above all else??
So again, I beg of you, please make parent and spouse paid attendants a permanent option for families like ours. Thank you.