Most people understand Medicaid as the health insurance program for low-income individuals. What not everyone knows is that Medicaid also provides coverage for individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (I/DD). Medicaid does not only ensure healthcare services for people with I/DD. It also pays for the various services that support their ability to live and thrive within their communities. Without the coverage provided by Medicaid, the cost of care would be too high for many individuals and families to cover.
Medicaid funding comes from both states and the federal government, and each state runs its own program within federal guidelines. Medicaid reimburses organizations like Indian Creek Foundation that provide approved services to individuals with I/DD. Programs in Pennsylvania include residential services, assistance with activities of daily living, nursing care, behavioral therapy, transportation, medical care, and other community services.
Medicaid Funding Controls Wages
States set the rates they will fund for I/DD services, and Medicaid matches those rates nearly dollar for dollar to reimburse providers. The funding is used by service organizations to run their programs and pay their employees. Because the rates are set by the state, organizations are limited in the compensation they offer to existing and prospective employees.
Covid-19 relief funding has allowed Indian Creek Foundation and similar organizations to increase wages, but more comprehensive and permanent solutions are necessary. At this time, due to the relatively low wages in our industry, we are experiencing a staffing shortage. This staffing shortage means that we have fewer resources to offer those we serve. Individuals who cannot obtain services or housing remain on a wait list until we attract and hire additional Direct Support Professionals.
Advocacy for Pennsylvania Medicaid Funding Changes
Advocacy groups for the I/DD community, such as Pennsylvania Advocacy and Resources for Autism and Intellectual Disability (PAR.net), are in regular contact with elected and appointed state officials regarding funding. One proposed solution is to build an inflationary index into the Medicaid reimbursement rates for care.
If the rates are indexed, they will increase year over year, allowing organizations to raise wages each year. Employers will be able to offer competitive wages that attract more Direct Support Professionals. Outcomes of this improvement include professional development, lower turnover, the ability to establish consistency and relationship between caregivers and individuals, and the ability to reduce our waitlist and serve more individuals.
Community Advocacy for Improved Funding Models
To support these efforts, the friends and family of Indian Creek Foundation can speak with their elected state representatives and follow organizations like PAR.net. Also, follow developments regarding these issues in both Harrisburg and Washington D.C. in order to share information with neighbors and participate in local advocacy.
Indian Creek Foundation accepts Medicaid for the majority of our services. We welcome the support of our community in advocacy for the services we provide. For general information about Indian Creek Foundation, call 267-203-1500 ext. 102.