CLASS, MRA, HCS, DADS, TxHmL. It’s alphabet soup, but what does it all mean? Better yet, why is this important? While the state of Texas does not have any Medicaid waiver programs specifically for individuals with autism, people with autism qualify for programs for individuals with intellectual disabilities. Getting your child on a wait list for services can be challenging and frustrating, however; getting on the waiting lists as soon as possible is imperative as some can take more than ten years to receive services.
Why The Wait List for Services is Necessary
Maybe you don’t think that your child will need extra services. Or maybe you feel like you can take care of your child without help from government programs. But the benefit of the Medicaid waiver programs is enormous! Remember, you never know what is going to happen, and you want to be able to plan for your child’s future and set them up for success! To do this, you need to be armed with knowledge and people that can help you along the way.
Medicaid waiver programs are like a safety net for you and your child. It is kind of like saving for retirement. You don’t know if there will be problems in the future, but you want to be prepared. You may not always need all of the services Medicaid waiver programs can provide, but it is nice to know that they are there if or when circumstances change.
What can you expect when you call for Medicaid Waiver Programs?
These services are Medicaid waivers, and they require you to place your name on an “interest” or waiting list. When your name comes up on the waiting list, a caseworker will contact you. Although your name can come up very quickly for some of the programs, others have a wait of eight to ten years. The waiting lists for the programs are statewide, but each community center has a waiting list for people living in that area.
When you put your child’s name on the waiting list, you will be assigned a case worker. This person will evaluate your situation and let you know different services and programs that can help you. Make sure you write down the date you call and the person’s name and contact information. This way you can “checkup” on your position on the waiting list and update any information.
What can you expect when you finally get services?
When your child’s name comes up on one of the lists, you will be assigned a case manager. Your case manager is your new best friend! Make sure you ask them all of your questions; they are there to help! The case manager is the person that keeps up with your case and will help you navigate and decipher this process. This is who you need to give a lot of details.
Case managers can also network for you. They can recommend a dentist or doctor that works well children with specific needs. They can problem solve and help you identify and receive tools, services, and supports to help your child reach their goals.
Maybe your child cannot safely navigate the kitchen to make a snack for themselves without you there. The case manager can help get you tools to make this possible, like a particular knife for safely cutting foods. What happens if as your child gets older, they begin to have a difficult time walking long distances without taking frequent breaks. Call your case manager, who can help get you something like a transport chair (a portable, lightweight chair with four wheels a caregiver can push).
No matter what you child might need now or in the future, your case manager is there to help you problems solve and figure out what can best help in your situation. So, be sure to make the call and get in line, it will give you peace of mind and help when you need it.
Guest Post Written by Andrea Murray, MA, BCBA