Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Department of Medical Assistance Services
Board of Medical Assistance Services
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3/30/23  6:10 am
Commenter: Justin Rushing

Parents and Spouses Should be Caregivers

I am a severely physically disabled man confined to an electric wheelchair because of cerebral palsy who requires all of my activities of daily living  to be performed by my attendant.  Since the over time rules went into place a few years ago, it’s been harder and harder for me to find attendants to care for my needs.  I could get a person willing to work over 50-60 hours for the pay. Once the 40 hour cap and then overtime cap went into place no one wants to work for the money provided.  This has been a problem for me created by your decisions for the past several years.  It has made my life and getting my needs met significantly harder.  Covid has made it nearly impossible to find good care.  We have had many interviews and advertised everywhere.  No one of quality wants to the work as my attendant for $12.70 an hour when they could make more washing dishes or serving fast food.  I have used agencies for years before.  They can not find people qualified to meet my needs.  They often don’t sent the same person every day.  That will expose me to many potential different germs and illnesses not to mention people I’m unfamiliar with I don’t necessarily trust around my children and family. With an agency, time and time again I was left alone with no one to fill my hours. I have experienced this before with many unqualified unmotivated agency attendants.  I’m sure as the rest of the country is facing hiring challenges; it’s even harder now for the agencies to find good employees. What you are proposing is not sustainable.  It will only make things worse for those of us who’ve had an even harder time due to Covid.  It will be harmful to those of us who do everything we can to just survive some days.  My wife being able to get paid to take care of me has been essential.  She doesn’t have time to go through ongoing training or other requirements placed by agencies nor should she have to as she is already fully trained and knows what I require.  I also don’t understand this proposal as agencies get paid more money and often pay their workers even less than what CD pays. A better option would be to allow for CD services to continue for parents and spouses with more frequent case management or service facilitator oversight.  Being forced to return to an agency to keep my wife caring for me is not something I would ever choose.  It’s something DMAS might force on me.  That takes away my rights as a disabled man and I do not agree with it.  I am the face of what all these parents have commented on above or below 20-30 years from now. Do not make things harder for them as well as you have for me.  Please do not force this unsustainable and harmful proposal.  I would be happy to speak with anyone about this further.  I have been on the DD now FIS waiver for many years and have lived through how many changes in policies have already negatively impacted my life. I hope that you reconsider other options than forcing parents and spouses to work for an agency for a 40 hour a week cap.  

CommentID: 215210