California Caregiver Forms To Be Accessible Under Agreement
by Andy Jones
February 10, 2017
Disability Rights California and the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund announced an out-of-court agreement February 3 with two California agencies, to make the state's Medicaid system further accessible to people who are blind and visually impaired.
Recipients of Medi-Cal-funded in-home care services are currently required to submit written biweekly timesheets to the state, documenting hours worked by their caregivers.
Under the agreement, people will now be able to report their caregiver’s work hours via telephone through a “telephone timesheet approval system.” The state Departments of Health Care Services and Social Services have pledged to spend $10 million toward implementing the system.
The written time sheets will also, for the first time, be available in large print Braille and electronic formats.
These changes, the advocates hope, will help protect the independence and privacy of recipients of in-home care services.
“Before we had this program I didn’t feel comfortable signing documents I couldn’t read,” said Xiomara Diaz, an in-home services consumer, in a news release. “Now it’s so much easier to verify my caregiver’s timesheets.”
The parties came to the agreement without the need for the advocates to commence a lawsuit.
DRC attorney Elizabeth Zirker, in a news release, said she is “pleased with the results of using structured negotiation to reach settlement, and hope that as technology improves, the state will continue its efforts to expand access to public programs.”
Disability Rights California and Disability Rights Washington are the designated protection and advocacy agencies in California and Washington, respectively, and are members of the National Disability Rights Network.