GCDD AND UNLOCK 2.0 TO HOST VIRTUAL TRAININGS TO ADDRESS RATE STUDY CRISIS AND TO END THE MEDICAID WAITLIST IN GEORGIA
(August 1, 2023, Atlanta, Ga.) - The Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities (GCDD) in partnership with Unlock 2.0 are hosting a virtual advocacy training August 21st and August 22, 2023, to push state leaders to support the rate study which will increase rates paid for services under the New Option Waiver (NOW) and the Comprehensive Support Waiver (COMP) and to end the Medicaid waitlist.
The rate study is a comprehensive review of the payment rates and policies for services provided through NOW and COMP waivers. The Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD) released their final rate study recommendations in March 2023, but their implementation has been stalled. When implemented, the rate study would include several positive changes for recipients of the NOW and COMP waivers. It would raise direct support professional (DSPs) wages to $16.70 an hour. In the last rate study in 2015, DSP wages were set at $10.63.
The rate study is needed to help the current NOW and COMP waiver crisis. DSP turnover rates are near 50%, and many providers have vacancy rates of around 30%. As a result, providers are turning away people who need and qualify for services. Some people have been forced to live in hospital or nursing home settings, rather than in their homes and communities. The current waitlist in Georgia is over 7,000 people who are waiting for a Medicaid waiver.
“Now is the time to make a major investment in Georgia’s disability community and we need you to help make it happen. We are very excited to partner with Unlock 2.0 to advocate for better wages for direct support professionals and to reduce the Medicaid waitlist in Georgia,” said D’Arcy Robb, Executive Director for GCDD. “This training will teach individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, their families, and providers how to connect with their local legislators in their communities and convince them the time is now to support Georgians with disabilities.”
A Medicaid waiver is money that may be used to pay for services for a person with intellectual, developmental, or physical disabilities. These services can take place in the person’s home or in the community. NOW waivers offer services and support to enable individuals to remain living on their own or in their family home and participate in the community. COMP waivers serve individuals with more intensive needs, primarily those with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities who require residential care.
As of 2019, it is estimated that in Georgia there are 167,755 individuals with a developmental disability and that number has likely increased since then. Individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), family members, and providers are encouraged to attend these advocacy trainings. The August 21st training is scheduled for 12 p.m. The August 22nd training is scheduled for 6:30 pm. To register for these events, see below:
Aug 21, 2023 12:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Aug 22, 2023 06:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
For more information, visit www.gcdd.org.
About the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities: The Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities (GCDD) is the State's leader in advancing public policy on behalf of persons with developmental disabilities. Its mission is to bring about social and policy changes that promote opportunities for the wide spectrum of diverse people/persons with developmental disabilities and their families to live, learn, work, play, and worship in their communities.
About UnlockGA: Through advocacy, engages and educates key stakeholders to expand and enhance home and community-based services to fully support Georgians with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. UnlockGA envisions an equitable society where the humanity of people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities(I/DD) is recognized and respected; mental, emotional, spiritual, physical, and social needs are met; and all contributions of people with I/DD are valued.