All Children Deserve to be Home
Historically, children with significant medical needs could not be cared for at home because it was not possible to provide the intensive level of medical care at home. These children were admitted to hospitals and institutions where they lived out their (greatly shortened) lives away from their families and sequestered from their community. Now, with help from the state, families can stay together and have the ability to care for their own children in their own homes. Children now are living longer due to better care, families are intact, and children are growing up able to be a meaningful part of their community.
When children are cared for at home by their families and care teams, the State saves money because it is not having to pay for the children to be institutionalized. The sooner medically complex/fragile children receive appropriate care, including medical, habilitative, and rehabilitative services, the greater the improvement and opportunity for fragile children to lead functional lives at home and contribute to their community. Children who do not receive appropriate intervention at a young age have decreased quality of life and are more likely to be dependent upon state programs and the community throughout their lives.
Waiver Programs Allow Children to Receive a Hospital-Level of Care at Home
A state waiver program is based on a stringent qualification criteria established by the state which looks at the child’s medical and/or developmental needs, diagnosis, and care requirements. Waiver programs have been developed to meet the excessive needs of disabled children, at significant cost savings to the state.
Is this because the parents don’t contribute to the child’s medical bills?
No. It’s because a medically dependent child can have medical bills in the hundreds of thousands or even millions each year. The majority of families simply don’t make enough money or have adequate resources to keep their children stable without help, even though they also carry primary private health insurance.
How would families manage the enormous burden and expense to meet fragile children’s needs without waivers?
Waiver programs like the Medically Dependent Children’s Program and others enable families to care for their extremely complex children at home. Without the Medicaid insurance coverage that comes through waivers, many hardworking families are unable to care for their children and have gone bankrupt trying to provide for their child’s significant medical needs.
This causes children to be institutionalized, thereby increasing the burden on the state and decreasing children’s quality of life and life expectancy.
Medicaid is secondary insurance coverage for over 50% of children covered by the waiver programs: this means that primary private insurance covers the vast majority of the kids’ care, and Medicaid only picks up the remainder. Families can then keep their jobs and provide for their families themselves rather than becoming fully dependent on the state. They are able to pay their own bills and still have sufficient resources to provide appropriate care for their medically dependent child.
Learn more about waivers here.