FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Due to COVID-19, California Temporarily Expands Participant Directed Support and Services; National FMS Organization GT Independence Offers Resources to Help Californians with Next Steps
Sacramento, Calif. – April 23, 2020 – As a direct result of COVID-19 and stay-at-home mandates, the state of California realized the urgent need to provide a safer and immediate solution for individuals who depend on regular support and services. That is why the California Department of Developmental Services (CDDS) is temporarily expanding the participant-directed model, which provides individuals with the ability to hire their own care providers and direct how their care is received. The CDDS recognizes that participant direction provides the needed flexibility for individuals who may feel safer receiving care from someone isolating at home with them, rather than their out-of-home caregivers or previously assigned caregivers from an agency who meet with multiple people each day or week.
Because of the unique benefits participant-directed support offers during this crisis, the CDDS recently relaxed Medicaid assistance guidelines and issued a 30-day modification to the Lanterman Developmental Disability Act for the upwards of 95,000 people that are currently on the California Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) Waiver for Californians with Developmental Disabilities. This means these individuals can self-direct an expanded set of services immediately. Many other states have also waived similar requirements for Medicaid programs, highlighting the importance of using participant-directed care in the midst of COVID-19.
One option for Californians who are new to participant-directed care, or would like to learn more about it, is financial management services provider GT Independence, an established national organization that offers tools, resources and assistance for this type of self-directed program.
“We understand the current reality can be difficult for many families who have loved ones in need of care, support and services during this crisis,” said GT Independence Chief Executive Officer John Carmichael. “Everyone is dealing with their own unique circumstances and they should feel equipped to make their own choices on how to receive care based on their specific needs. We are here to guide them through that process so they’re able to shift their focus back on their health as soon as possible.”
The participant-directed model also presents an opportunity for family members and friends of the individual who have recently become unemployed to assume the caregiver role and be paid for their time and dedication. Using a financial management service such as GT Independence, individuals won’t have to worry about handling the required employer and employee paperwork, time tracking, payroll, tax filings and insurance concerns.
To learn more about the participant-directed model, program rules and how to get started, individuals may visit www.GTindependence.com/CA. While some of these steps have traditionally been conducted in-person, the entire process has been adapted to online, phone and email communications to maintain safe social distancing during this crisis.
About GT Independence
Founded in 2004, GT Independence is a national financial management services provider that provides specialized financial management services to support individuals with disabilities and long-term care needs. Driven by years of experience with self-directed care, GT Independence helps individuals direct their own care by administering all the financial, technical and legal aspects of hiring and managing a caregiver. Its mission is to help individuals live their lives according to their own vision regardless of age or ability. GT Independence has expanded from its home state of Michigan to serve more than 22,000 individuals in 11 states. For more information about GT Independence, please visit www.GTindependence.com/CA and join GT Independence’s California Community on Facebook: @CaliforniaGT, and Twitter: @GT_California.
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