Magazine article Policy & Practice

Program Gives Recipients Freedom to Choose

Magazine article Policy & Practice

Program Gives Recipients Freedom to Choose

Article excerpt

Medicaid recipients with disabilities who control their own supportive services are significantly more satisfied and appeared to get better care than those receiving services through home care agencies, according to an initial evaluation of a demonstration project, the Cash and Counseling Program.

In the program, participants are given a monthly allowance, equivalent to what would be spent under traditional Medicaid for the care authorized, and a high degree of flexibility and freedom to use the allowance. For example, recipients may use their allowances to hire friends and family members (excluding spouses) as caregivers. They may also use the allowance to purchase assistive equipment or home modifications related to their personal care needs. Counseling is provided to help recipients develop a spending plan for the allowance.

"This approach gives people with disabilities more freedom and responsibility, in the same way that all of us want to be in charge of our lives and our choices," noted Tommy G. Thompson, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. "It lets the individuals themselves decide how best to use the Medicaid dollars they are already entitled to. …

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