New proposal aims to permanently allow caregiver option for Va. disability program

Virginia’s state flag flies in Richmond.
Virginia’s state flag flies in Richmond.(Ned Oliver, Virginia Mercury)
Published: Jul. 19, 2023 at 1:46 PM EDT
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The Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services recently released revised guidelines for state Medicaid disability waiver programs which would allow certain family members who provide caregiving services for their child or spouse with disabilities to be paid directly by the state.

The move comes after outcry from hundreds of families and letters from state Democrats critical of the initial guidelines prohibiting this option that DMAS – which oversees the state’s Developmental Disabilities Home and Community-Based Services waiver programs – submitted to the federal government in May.

This option has been available in Virginia since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic but is set to end this fall because of DMAS’ concerns that it wouldn’t follow federal guidelines in a post-COVID world and fell short of oversight standards.

State officials told the Virginia Mercury later in May that the department planned to study whether a Maryland program allowing this option could be adopted in the commonwealth in response.

Rebecca Dooley, Senior Communications Officer with DMAS, said the new changes “address stakeholder concerns and are currently in a public comment period.”

Disability advocates and families say they agree with DMAS’ decision to allow family caregivers of minors and spouses the option to be paid directly by the state for their services – instead of exclusively through a private home care agency under the department’s current plan.


NBC12 is a partner with The Virginia Mercury, an independent, nonprofit online news...
NBC12 is a partner with The Virginia Mercury, an independent, nonprofit online news organization covering state government and policy.(Virginia Mercury)