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MAKING A MARK: Organization helps people with disabilities navigate Virginia Medicaid waiver system

People with disabilities are some of the most at-risk of severe illness from COVID-19. A care alternative may help reduce their chance of exposure to the virus.

FRONT ROYAL, Va. — People with special needs may face unique challenges during the COVID-19 crisis. Some with caregivers are taking extra precautions to prevent getting sick.

Khalilah Jones is Marketing and Public Relations Coordinator for Moms in Motion/At Home Your Way. 

The organization, which promotes a message of offering "answers, help, and hope", assists people with disabilities to navigate the Virginia Medicaid waiver system. In response to COVID-19 last year, waiver flexibilities through the 'Appendix K' amendment were approved for use in Virginia. This includes temporarily paying spouses or parents of minor children to provide personal care.

"When you have disabilities and those who are immunocompromised, which is the majority of our clients and our families that we work with-- it is key that you're taking care of yourself and making it a priority," said Jones. 

"We're able to keep that at-risk population much safer since they don't need to have outside attendants coming into the home, which prevents the potential introduction of the virus."

Jones said this healthcare option is a game changer for families, and Moms in Motion/At Home Your Way are working to ensure they take advantage of it. 

"Most of our team, they've been in this system for a while, so they understand that frustration," said Jones.

"And most of them have that heart for service and they know what it's like to be on the other side of that."

Jones said the waiver flexibilities not only provide peace of mind but economic stability for caregivers that may have lost some or all of their income due to the pandemic. 

"Some have lost their jobs, some have taken cuts, some have had to take a leave just so that they can be there to take care of their loved ones," said Jones. 

"That has been such a financial relief for some of our families."

Medicaid Appendix K waiver flexibilities are now effective through March 11, 2021, in Virginia. To get help regarding the Virginia Medicaid waiver system from Moms In Motion/At Home Your Way, call 1-800-417-0908 or visit www.momsinmotion.net.