The Louisiana Department of Health announced today it is enhancing choices of available services to adults with disabilities and the elderly who receive home and community-based care. Effective Oct. 1, 2011, the Elderly and Disabled Adult (EDA) Waiver is being replaced with a new program called the Community Choices Waiver.
"One of our top priorities is ensuring the people who rely on services through our department have the best choices to maintain independent and productive lives," said LDH Secretary Bruce D. Greenstein. "We've worked closely with the people whom we serve, advocates, providers and state leaders, and this is the latest of many improvements for Louisianians. During the past two years, common-sense strategies have enabled us to provide community-based services to 5,000 more seniors and adults with disabilities while decreasing spending of taxpayer dollars through policies like this one."
The current EDA Waiver offers a limited menu of services, relying heavily on one-on-one care in the recipient's home, which is very costly and can inhibit an individual's self-sufficiency. With the Community Choices Waiver, recipients will still have access to all of the services provided through the EDA Waiver, but will also have the opportunity to select options that empower them to lead more independent lives. For example, if waiver-eligible individuals need assistance bathing and dressing, the EDA Waiver would likely assign a worker to stay in their homes and do these things for them. Under the Community Choices Waiver, individuals could choose to receive rehabilitation therapy so they could do these things for themselves.
Individuals currently receiving the EDA Waiver will automatically be transferred to the Community Choices Waiver on Oct. 1. These individuals and their families will work with LDH service coordinators to complete annual assessments and adjust the individual's care plan as appropriate. If one-on-one care is still the preference, individuals will continue to receive it. However, with the Community Choices Waiver, the tailor-made plan can also include less-restrictive options such as assistive technology, respite for family caregivers or home-delivered meals.
"We have an extensive waiting list of Louisiana residents eager to receive these services, and as 'Baby Boomers' age, that list will undoubtedly continue to grow," said Hugh Eley, Assistant Secretary for LDH's Office of Aging and Adult Services. "Our goal is to provide the most appropriate level of care to as many people as possible. We will continue to explore areas in which we can operate more efficiently to that end." People currently on the waiting list for EDA Waiver services will automatically be transferred to the waiting list for Community Choices Waiver.
Currently, EDA Waiver recipients receive the following services:
- Support coordination;
- Transition intensive support coordination;
- Transition service (provided to people leaving nursing homes);
- Personal assistance service (one-to-one care);
- Adult day health care;
- Environmental accessibility adaptations; and
- Personal Emergency Response System (PERS).
The Community Choices Waiver will provide all of the services currently provided through the EDA Waiver, but will also offer waiver recipients the opportunity to receive:
- Assistive devices and medical supplies, including Personal Emergency Response System (PERS);
- Physical, occupational, speech and respiratory therapy;
- Nursing services;
- Home-delivered meal services;
- Caregiver temporary support services or respite; and
- Non-medical transportation.
To qualify, individuals must meet Medicaid eligibility; be 21 years old or older; and meet nursing facility level of care criteria. Individuals who have questions about services or are interested in adding their name to the Community Choices Waiver Request for Services Registry can call Louisiana Options in Long Term Care at 1-877-456-1146 (TDD: 1-877-544-9544).
The Louisiana Department of Health strives to protect and promote health statewide and to ensure access to medical, preventive and rehabilitative services for all state citizens. To learn more about LDH, visit http://www.dhh.louisiana.gov. For up-to-date health information, news and emergency updates, follow LDH's blog, Twitter account and Facebook.