Georgia government officials have proposed capping services for people receiving skilled nursing in their own homes.
One of these caps would limit service from skilled nursing to 16 hours a day, which would effectively require an individual to go without treatment for the remaining eight hours, or to depend on a family member for those eight hours, or to move to an around-the-clock service outside their home, according to one provider.
The change could mean that one Carroll County resident could face tough choices about the care of an adult, disabled daughter.
The Department of Community Health (DCH) and the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD) issued a joint proposition during a November meeting of DCH.
The proposition increases limitations by capping services provided by skilled nursing that an individual can receive in their home. It would also alter the lower eligibility age limit from the current limit of 3 years old and increase it to 5 years old.
Two programs are scheduled for renewal from government officials, the Comprehensive Supports Waiver Program (COMP) and New Options Waiver Program (NOW).
The caps are being proposed by amending these services when they are renewed, and officials would allow an 18-month transition period for the people who would be affected.
These planned changes are due to what officials say are a small number of participants and low utilization.
Georgia Options is an Athens-based non-profit that supports people with disabilities to live in their own homes. The nonprofit has issued a public comment opposing the proposed changes.
The organization outlines the second cap on COMP waiver recipients, who currently receive up to 24-hour services in their own homes. The proposed change would cap the services to six hours, or 12 hours for some select recipients.
This cap would also have the same effect of limiting the amount of support an individual can receive in their own home, or force them to move to a 24-hour support option.
The proposal has not been passed and is still in a public comment period, and individuals wishing to comment in writing have until Dec. 14 to contact the Board of Community Health.
One Carrollton resident has written and submitted her own public comment with her personal story, advocating for this proposition to not be approved.
Camille Yahm is a Carrollton resident and her 49-year-old daughter Wendi Funk are two individuals who will be impacted by this change.
Funk was born with anoxia, and in utero her umbilical cord had wrapped around her neck, cutting off oxygen to her brain, causing developmental delays.
Around her 25th birthday, she was moved into a group home because, at that time, there were few alternatives for disabled individuals.
However, 16 years ago, her family discovered the option of being able to live and care for Funk at home, providing her with independence. She could live in her apartment while still having caregivers with her for 24 hours at a time.
Funk cannot be without supervision for any length of time, and her elderly parents cannot provide 24-hour care for her special needs, and the proposed caps would place her and her family in a difficult position.
DCH, following the public comment period, will vote whether to approve the caps.