Monday, March 23, 2015

State Services for Miracle Man

For about the past year I have been working on getting Miracle Man services through our state. He already receives services through the local channels, and attends a special education preschool program. He goes there every day for about 4 1/2 hours. While he is there, he receives many different therapies daily and throughout each week. Those therapies are all geared towards helping him grow socially, cognitively, and physically.

At the state level, there are programs out there that can assist him in ways that are above and beyond the scope of the educational program. One of the ways our state helps families who have children with disabilities is a Medicaid Service Program. I am not sure how it works in other states, only how I am experiencing it in my state.

In any case, through the Medicaid Service Program, children with disabilities whose families are at a certain income level can receive the state services and programs.  If you do not meet income eligibility, however, there is another option in order to receive services for your child at the state level. This is called a Medicaid Waiver Program. To receive any kind of service through this avenue, you first have to apply for the Medicaid Waiver.

I started this process in the spring time of last year. It is quite a lengthy process, but once we get through it and can start receiving services, it will totally be worth it! So the first thing you need to do in my state is go through a "front door" program. When I did this, it was before they implemented new regulations. I got in just in the nick of time. From what I hear, it is quite cumbersome now. In any case, for me the "front door" program consisted of meeting with somebody from the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD). At the meeting, the gentleman that I spoke with gave me paperwork and outlined for me a basic idea of what the program can do. After that, I was sent on my merry way to start contacting agencies that provide Medicaid Services and get a Medicaid Service Coordinator.

The Medicaid Service Coordinator does 90% of the paperwork, with my assistance. Sometimes acquiring a Medicaid Service Coordinator is challenging, especially for the younger children. I called around to several agencies and asked to have a Medicaid Service Coordinator, but many of them didn't have any availability. At the agency that I'm with now, I was actually put on a waiting list initially.

Every time you contact an agency to acquire a Medicaid Service Coordinator, the intake person gathers information about your child to see if their agency can support your child and service her or him properly. So for each agency I called, it meant that I would be spending at least an hour on the phone talking with the intake person explaining Miracle Man's complete social and medical history. And at the agencies where I went a little bit further, I then had to repeat the entire same story with another person.  I spent quite a bit of time on the phone in the summer and then again in the fall. 

In the end, the agency we were waitlisted at was really the best fit our family.  Luckily, by the time I had done some of the legwork with the other agencies, our agency had an opening for us. And, for those of you in the "know", I never actually got as far as the start of the application with any of the other agencies.  It was just a lot of bureaucratic red tape.
So all of these things take time, and several months later, in the middle of the fall, I was assigned a Medicaid Service Coordinator who would help me get the Medicaid Waiver application completed and sent out to the state. I've been working with this lovely woman for the past several months. She fills out all of the paperwork, but we meet several times for several hours each time...going over history, medical needs, social needs, everything that has to do with our little guy. Then she goes back to her office and fills out all of the paperwork.  She then contacts me with changes that need to be made, or questions that she has. I believe that we are nearing the end of the application process, and then we will be sending it in and waiting to hear back from the state.

Once the application is approved, it will still take some time before we can start receiving some of the services that we are seeking to meet Miracle Man's needs. I can't wait until that happens! One of the things that we will receive is some respite. But, it is going to be several more months before all of that can take place. I will explain how respite works in another post.

For now, though, I am in pain, and completely exhausted, so it's off to bed for me. It was a long, very challenging day. Good night all!

Wishing you wonderful dreams,
Marathon Momma

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