DSCC Works to Continue Paid Licensed Caregiver Option for Families

August 30th, 2022

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DSCC partners with state and federal agencies to ensure licensed caregivers can be paid nurses for their children beyond the public health emergency

The COVID-19 public health emergency has given families more flexibility to help care for their children with complex medical needs.

One helpful way is allowing parents and legally responsible adults (LRAs) who are licensed nurses to be paid caregivers.

The Division of Specialized Care for Children (DSCC) is working with our state and federal partners to make this a permanent option through the Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services Waiver for Medically Fragile, Technology Dependent (MFTD) Children.

The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) is the Medicaid agency responsible for the MFTD waiver. Many families in the Home Care Program have children who receive services through the MFTD waiver.

HFS must renew Illinois’ MFTD waiver every five years. The current waiver will expire on Aug. 31.

DSCC and HFS partnered to collect family input and propose several changes as part of this year’s renewal process. Our proposal included a request for nursing by licensed LRAs to be a permanent MFTD waiver service.

We understand this option is a much-needed benefit for our participant families.

The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) reviewed our proposed changes as part of the waiver approval process.

CMS is now asking for more time to review our request for paid nursing by licensed LRAs. Therefore, nursing by licensed LRAs is currently not part of the approved waiver that will take effect on Sept. 1.

“CMS is aware of the strong advocacy and support of this service from waiver customers, families, UIC (the University of Illinois Chicago), DSCC, and HFS. It is their intention to support the State in this endeavor; however, their review will not be completed by the waiver expiration date,” according to an HFS notice to MFTD waiver families.

You can read the full notice about licensed LRAs and the waiver renewal on the HFS website.

In the meantime, nursing by licensed LRAs remains part of Appendix K. (Appendix K is an emergency coverage document for individuals receiving services through a Medicaid waiver.)

Licensed LRA nursing will therefore continue throughout the public health emergency and six months after it ends. (The public health emergency is currently set to end in October, but this date will likely be pushed back once more.) This option is available for all Home Care participants, including those who do not receive MFTD waiver benefits.

This timeframe will give CMS more time to review and work with DSCC and HFS to approve licensed LRA nursing as a permanent waiver service.

Families can see the approved waiver and review the changes taking effect on Sept. 1.

We will continue partnering with HFS and CMS to help meet our participants’ needs and resolve their concerns. We look forward to more progress in the coming months.

Please note this update about licensed parent caregivers is separate from DSCC and HFS’s other work to expand paid caregiving options for the Home Care Program as part of Illinois’ plans for an increased federal match (FMAP) from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

We remain committed to improving support for caregivers of children with medical complexity. We will share updates as available on this additional work.