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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Virginia Medicaid Funding Endangered; Endependence Fights Back

From Hampton Roads, by Elizabeth Simpson for the Virginian-Pilot:

Virginia's budget-setting season is always a nail-biting time for people like Barbara Kimble.

Will there be enough money to help her and her husband care for their 25-year-old mentally disabled son at their Chesapeake home, or will they have to wait another year - or two, or three?
This year, the news was about as bad as it has ever been. Not only is there no additional funding for the Medicaid waiver program that helps families keep disabled or elderly relatives at home instead of at institutions, but there's a one-year freeze on the existing waivers.

That means even if someone already in the program dies, drops out or moves out of state, the money for that slot can't be used for someone on the waiting list.

"People will be institutionalized who never, ever would have considered it," said Maureen Hollowell, director of advocacy and services at The Endependence Center in Norfolk, which helps the disabled. "There will be no option for them."

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