GT IndependenceResources and ToolsResourcesHow Better State and FMS Partnerships Benefit All in Emergencies

How Better State and FMS Partnerships Benefit All in Emergencies

December 13, 2021

We’re always stronger when we work and stand together. And this is especially true when it comes to partnerships between States and FMS providers. Providing access to self-direction programs can feel complicated at first, but having a good partnership with clear roles can make it easier. Especially during emergencies! 

Join Holly Carmichael and Michael Murray from GT Independence as they discuss partnerships between States and FMS providers with Laura Demeuse (Michigan DHHS) and Derek Fales (Maine DHHS) for the HCBS Conference.

Sparking Conversation Between States and FMS Providers: An Overview

The recent public health emergency has shown us that having a great partnership is critical to supporting the people we all serve. During the pandemic, GT worked closely with state partners to offer additional support through technology, uninterrupted service, and implementing increased access to funds and services.  

Learn More About GT’s COVID-19 Efforts

3 Ways to Put People First in the Face of a Global Pandemic

4 Strategies for Better Partnerships 

Implementing Federally Funded Support During the Pandemic 

PPE Kits 

During the first few months of the pandemic, everyone was scared and unsure. But true partnership is forged in fire, and GT joined hands with State partners to send out federally funded PPE kits to participants served. 


The FFCRA (Families First Coronavirus Response Act) entitled employees to take paid sick leave if they were unable to work because of COVID-19. This paid sick leave was federally funded, but it was up to the FMS to implement it across the programs served. GT worked to get all caregivers the paid sick leave they needed to safely recover in quarantine and slow the spread.  

Hazard Pay  

GT also worked joined the federal government in recognizing the value of frontline caregivers and delivering federally funded hazard pay to caregivers. Thanks to government support, GT was able distribute more than $16 million to caregivers. 

“I am thankful I get the opportunity during this pandemic to have the help I need—as well as the help my mom needs! Thank you…I am so happy to be home with Mom.”

Lisa, Family Caregiver

Leveraging Technology

During the pandemic, GT worked with Maine to offer increased support to people needing extra support. Using the Caregiver app, GT asked caregivers questions about current situations. People needing extra support were flagged and passed to the care coordinator, who could then reach out directly to the people in need.  

States, agencies, and health plans also gained access to Find a Caregiver in the GT Portal to combat caregiver shortage. Also, the smart reporting on the GT Portal allowed them to see in-depth insights and get reports that fit their individual needs.  

Choosing Self-Direction as a Safe and Stable Option 

The pandemic taught us that when we stand together, we can survive even the toughest situations. It also taught us about the dangers of group homes, and how people are often safest (and happiest) when they can live in their home and community

Learn more about how GT Independence works with States and agencies to provide self-directed care.