Action Alert – July 2021
Please Call and Email Today to Protect Essential Services and Supports
To Members of The Arc and our Partners,
When the pandemic hit, states were allowed to request flexibility in their Medicaid Waiver Services (like those provided through DDA), to meet the urgent support needs of people with disabilities and their families. The document that contains those flexibilities is known as “Appendix K.” The federal government approved Maryland’s Appendix K to be in effect through June 30, 2022.
We are now in the phase of our pandemic where providers and families are trying to rebuild and restructure. There is also continued uncertainty about a possible resurgence of cases. Direct Support Professional vacancies are at a historic high, and providers are doing their best to meet the needs of people they support to gradually and thoughtfully return to normalcy. We believe Appendix K is the key to continued health and safety of people supported and their Direct Support Professionals and will continue to be needed as we move through our recovery.
However, we have recently learned that Maryland may be ending the flexibilities in Appendix K much earlier than we were told they would end, and possibly even as early as August 15, 2021.
If Governor Larry Hogan and Maryland Department of Health Secretary Dennis Schrader decide to end some or all of Appendix K sooner than approved by the federal government, without conducting a thorough and systematic review of what people, providers, and families need, we will all be left in a crisis situation without the flexibility many still absolutely need to safely transition from COVID-19 precautions to post-pandemic activities and living.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
We ask that you please take all three actions listed below, if possible, TODAY. Time is of the essence…
1. Email Governor Larry Hogan
Click here to write to the Governor through his website, and choose the “Developmental Disabilities Administration” as the message topic in the drop down box.
- Ask Governor Hogan to continue Appendix K for DDA waiver services until 6 months after the federal Public Health Emergency, as approved in the State’s request to CMS.
- Explain how the loss of Appendix K flexibilities will affect you as a person with a disability a family member, or a provider.
If you are a person with IDD or a Family Member, consider including some of the following information:
- Are family members providing paid support as a caregiver? Why is it important they be allowed to continue providing this support right now?
- Do you have any concerns about direct support staff coming to your home or spending several hours of time in the community at this time? How and in what ways?
- What flexibilities in Appendix K have, and continue to be, life savers for you?
If you are a Provider, consider including some of the following information:
- Are you currently experiencing staff shortages that would make it difficult/impossible to continue to provide services to the people you are currently supporting if Appendix K flexibilities are removed ahead of what was planned? Can you give example(s)?
- In what ways would the removal of billing flexibilities permitted under Appendix K impact your ability to continue to support people?
- What obstacles or barriers are you experiencing in re-integration?
- Do you have immediate workforce capacity or financial challenges that are creating barriers to service delivery?
2. Email The Maryland Department of Health Secretary Dennis Schrader
Use the email email@example.com to write to the Secretary and ask him to support the continuation of Appendix K until 6 months after the end of the federal public health emergency. Explain how the loss of Appendix K flexibilities will affect you as a person with a disability, a family member, or a provider, using the questions above as a guide to what to include in your message. If you would prefer to call the Secretary, please call 410-767-4639.
3. Share this ACTION ALERT broadly through email and social media to your networks and ask others for help in this advocacy.
When you post on social media, please tag Governor Hogan @GovLarryHogan and Secretary Schrader @MDHealthDept in your posts if possible, and use the following hashtags: